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Honor Flight San Diego makes 2nd flight of 2023

CORONADO – Honor Flight San Diego took 87 World War II, Korea and Vietnam-era veterans from San Diego to the District of Columbia, Sept. 29, to Oct. 1, in the nonprofit’s second flight in 2023. The three-day trip, which is made at no cost to them, is a time for veterans to visit the memorials built for their sacrifice and to honor them for their service.

Honor Flight San Diego is part of the Honor Flight Network and is one of the approximately 130 hubs nationwide. Honor Flight San Diego is a 501(c)(3) designated nonprofit organization. Top priority is given to the most senior veterans, currently World War II and Korean War, and to veterans who are terminally ill. In 2022, Honor Flight San Diego opened flights to Vietnam veterans to provide a long overdue thank you for their service. For some veterans, it is their first trip to Washington, and for some, it will be their last opportunity.

Honor Flight San Diego is completely funded through individuals, foundations, associations, business owners and corporations. Each Tour of Honor trip costs about $300,000.

Honor Flight San Diego was started in 2010 by Dave Smith when he took his father, World War II veteran Arthur Smith, on a Lone Eagle Flight for veterans from cities without a hub. He was so inspired by the Honor Flight experience that he got back to San Diego and wanted to volunteer, but since there was no San Diego hub, he created one.

Since 2010, Honor Flight San Diego has flown over 1,800 veterans to Washington for their Tour of Honor.

On each flight, approximately 85-95 veterans travel with their assigned guardian to assist them. The veterans travel at no cost to them. Guardians donate $900 to help offset the cost of their trip.

On Saturday of each trip, the veterans tour the national World War II Memorial, the Korean War Memorial and the Vietnam War Memorial. They visit the U.S. Marine Corp Memorial – Iwo Jima, U.S. Air Force Memorial and U.S. Navy Yard Museum. The veterans also visit Arlington National Cemetery and witness the Changing of the Guard ceremony. The female veterans tour the Military Women’s Memorial.

When they come home on Sunday, they arrive to a hero’s welcome. Approximately 1,000 people fill the airport to greet them. Active-duty military in uniform line the rails saluting each veteran, alongside friends, family, students, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and other citizens dressed in red, white and blue; waving flags and holding signs.

For some veterans, they are getting the homecoming they never received when they returned from their service. For most, they are overwhelmed with emotion as tears flow down their cheeks, according to Honor Flight San Diego.

One World War II veteran summed it up as he was being interviewed about Honor Flight San Diego and the trip.

“This was the best weekend of my life,” he said.

To submit an application as a veteran or a guardian, visit http://www.honorflightsandiego.org or call 800-655-6997. Follow Honor Flight San Diego on social media.

Submitted by Honor Flight San Diego.

 

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