If you’ve ever seen the term “honor flight” used and you’re not quite sure what it means, you’re not alone. So what exactly is the honor flight for veterans?
An honor flight is usually conducted by nonprofits where they take veterans to see their own memorials. Usually, these memorials are located in Washington DC. In most cases, these veterans served during WWII or Vietnam. Veterans are flown into various airports and escorted by volunteers to make the process much easier. It some cases, firetrucks, local policemen, and other supporters will salute the veterans upon landing.
The best known nonprofit is called the Honor Flight Network which has flown over 159,000 veterans to Washington DC memorials since 2005. Costs are covered by donations and airline sponsors. It is a fantastic experience and service that this nonprofit provides. It allows veterans to remember fallen comrades and friends. The nonprofit was founded by Earl Morse, a physician's assistant who realized that most of his WWII veterans wouldn't be able to visit the memorials that were built for them. Earl was a pilot, so he offered to take two veterans on an honor flight to DC. After that, he started pitching the idea to other pilots. From then on, the nonprofit gained more notice and publicity. Larger airlines now take part in this nonprofit and many pilots still personally escort veterans around the city. As time goes on, other wars will be included in the honor flight program.
Here's how you can qualify for an honor flight for veterans: You must be a veteran who served during wartime. If you have not served in combat, that's not a problem. You just need to have served during certain periods which you can see here. Spouses and other family members are not allowed to take advantage of the honor flight but can fly separately and fund their own trip. Veterans are chosen on a first come first serve basis in most cases, however, terminally ill veterans are given priority.
On June 9, 2014, a bill was passed known as the honor flight act. This act makes it easy for veterans to get through TSA thanks to expedited service.
So there you have it, all you need to know about the honor flight for veterans. It's a fantastic program that's free for all veterans and can make a positive impact in veteran lives. If you or your loved one ends up taking advantage of the honor flight program, take photos and let us know how it goes!