Nice to Know

Published 9:20 am Saturday, September 15, 2012

Thanks for help with honor flights

Honor Flight Winnebago extends a tremendous thank you to all who donated their time and/or money supporting our program of flying World War II veterans to Washington, D.C., to see their monument. This program began in 2009 as a trip to D.C., but it became a journey of remembrance. The smiles, laughter, stories and the quick step upon return to hundreds of cheering family and friends reached far beyond expectations. Honor Flight Winnebago was active over four years, had eight flights and took WWII veterans from 18 Iowa as well as six southern Minnesota counties for a total of 618 WWII veterans. In total we flew 1,296 individuals to D.C. We had 87 staff, medical, and media and 591 guardians. Of the 591 guardians, 468 veterans were mostly from the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Our goal was to get as many veterans as possible to D.C. to visit their monument, and more than 79 percent of all guardians were veterans.

When Honor Flight Winnebago began, there were 23 states and 89 hubs participating; today 37 states are active and over 123 hubs are operating. As with most ventures of the magnitude, money drives the process. Honor Flight Winnebago is going inactive immediately due to lack of funding and it has been a long four years. Each flight costs about $90,000 with the aircraft being about $70,000, buses $5,000 and shirts, hats, food, etc. making up the rest. Fund raising requires an inordinate amount of time. The trip is actually quite easy, hectic but fun and rewarding. We think now is the time to reiterate that no government funds or taxpayer dollars were ever used in our flights.

Email newsletter signup

On the eighth and final flight, we only had 15 WWII veterans on board, so our objective was reached. We flew most all of the WWII veterans to D.C. in North Central Iowa that were able to travel. Today the average age of a WWII veteran is 87. Nationally a WWII veteran dies every 1 minute, 45 seconds or about 800 per day. Of the 14.5 million veterans of WWII, less than 900,000 remain. On our last flight we took 88 Purple Heart recipients in addition to the 15 WWII veterans. Of the Purple Heart veterans, two were WWII, 10 Korean, 72 Vietnam, three Iraq and one Afghanistan.

Honor Flight Winnebago can never express our gratitude enough for all of the support given to ensure success and honor bestowed on our veterans. Of special significance support Honor Flight was the support from all our local military organizations; the VFWs, Legions, Vietnam Veterans of America, Marine Corps League, our VA clinic and all the media sources that provided news/coverage.

Remember, when a veteran dies, a library closes.

With respect and honor,


Honor Flight Winnebago

Board of Directors