Honor Flight veterans headed to DC

Community encouraged to welcome heroes home

DAYTON — Honor Flight Dayton will take 92 World War II, Korean and Vietnam veterans to see the memorials built in their honor this Saturday, April 1.

Area residents can be part of this patriotic event and experience it first-hand. Those interested can come to the Dayton International Airport by 9:45 p.m. Saturday, April 1 for the final welcome of 2016.

“The Dayton International Airport is proud to be the host airport and work with Honor Flight of Dayton in this great opportunity to honor our veterans,” said Terrence G. Slaybaugh, director of Aviation for the city of Dayton.

The veterans arrive at 3:30 a.m. to prepare to board an aircraft at 6 p.m. They then fly to Washington, D.C. to visit the World WAR II Memorial, Korean Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, USMC War Memorial, USAF Memorial, Arlington Cemetery, the Changing of the Guard at the Tombs of the Unknown Soldiers and other sites.

This free once-in-a-lifetime tour is a “thank you” for the service they rendered and the freedoms they secured for all of us, when they served in the U.S. military so many decades ago, and is paid for by many generous sponsors throughout the area.

Upon arrival back at the Dayton Airport around 10:30 p.m., as the veterans deplane, a military guard of about 200 USAF personnel welcome the veterans and form a symbolic Honor March to accompany the veterans from the arrival gate to the Honor Corridor for their final special welcome. The Honor Corridor is lined by the color guards of the United States Air Force, Air Force Junior ROTC and the Miami Valley Young Marines. The entire corridor is lined by additional military groups, Vietnam Veterans of America, Boy Scouts of America, Patriot Pin-Up Girls, Knights of Columbus, members of police and fire departments and of course, a large multitude of the veterans’ loved ones. Those in attendance also can join in the singing of the National Anthem and enthusiastic cheering. All of these assure a singularly memorable event for the returning veterans and those who honor them. For many veterans it is the welcome home they never received and a small tribute for those who gave so much.

Patriotic attire and signs are encouraged. Present and former military and public safety personnel are encouraged to come in uniform. There is no charge and no reservations are needed. Park-N-Go in Vandalia offers free parking to anyone who comes to the Honor Flight.

The Dayton International Airport supplies complementary water, beverages, fruits, and pastries to the outbound veterans as they make their way to their departure gate in the morning. Additional airport staff, police, and firefighters are on hand to assist the group in their departure and return to the Dayton International Airport.

Community encouraged to welcome heroes home