Honor Flight of the Quad Cities is getting ready for its 55th trip to Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Nov. 8, when it will carry more than 90 veterans of U.S. conflicts, and 60 volunteer guardians to the nation’s capital.
A majority of the vets scheduled to take the trip – dubbed the Whiteside County (Illinois) Honor Flight – served during the Vietnam conflict. Some will be visiting the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall for the first time, the local Honor Flight organization said in a news release.
A number of the vets also were eligible to fly on an earlier flight but gave up their seats so that they could fly with friends and neighbors on the upcoming flight.
The contingent also will carry a funeral flag, and honor a veteran who passed without ever seeing his memorial. Flight commander will be Stephen Garrington, the hub director of Honor Flight and a retired Army lieutenant colonel.
Mr. Garrington, who is the second director, has been involved with all 55 Honor Flights, many in a support position. He will be assisted by Deputy Commander Gayle Morrell. The pair served together in the 5041st U.S. Army Reserve School. There will also be three veteran bus captains from Whiteside County.
The Wiserma bus company will provide transportation early that morning for participating veterans from the Sterling/Rock Falls area.
Health and safety will be of prime importance. Masks will be worn by all participants whenever they are required by local regulations.
The veterans are expected to return to the Quad Cities International Airport at 10 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8. Quad-Citians are urged to come to the airport and give the veterans a warm reception and welcome home. Parking at the airport will be free.
Any person who was on active duty during WWII, Korea or Vietnam is urged to fill out an application for a future Honor Flight. Those interested in going on a flight as a guardian to assist veterans (some may be in wheelchairs) may fill out an application as well. Find out more at this link.