By Marguerite Cleveland
The COVID-19 Pandemic has greatly impacted the mission of Honor Flight to bring America’s veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit the memorials that are dedicated to honor those who have served and sacrificed for our country. “Sadly we’ve had to suspend flights due to COVID-19 but we are closely monitoring state and federal guidelines as well as those of the District of Columbia. We intend to continue our Honor Flight trips as soon as it’s safe to do so,” said Carol Harlow, Public Relations for Honor Flight Network.
Currently the program serves veterans from the WWII, Korean War and Vietnam War eras as well as terminally ill veterans who served in any era. Unfortunately, these veterans fall into the high risk category in regards to COVID-19.
The network consists of independent hubs that work together to support the Honor Flight Mission. The common goal is to show our nation’s veterans appreciation and honor they deserve for their service to our country. With no cost to the veteran, an Honor Flight trip allows them to share their experience and stories, and to remember friends and comrades lost. It is a very significant occasion for them.
According to Harlow until the program is safe to run again, “many of our 130 Hubs across the country are running virtual programs for veterans. They’re also spearheading socially distant drive by’s or “parades” within the community to keep veterans spirits up. We also have Hubs placing yard signs in Veterans yards thanking them for his or her service and reminding them they will participate in an Honor Flight as soon as it’s safe to do so.”
“Here at the national Honor Flight office, we’ve arranged for several celebrities and high-profile individuals to record messages to the approximately 23,000 veterans who would have flown on a Honor Flight this year. We refer to this initiative as Operation Reassurance. We will post the video messages on our social media (Facebook: Honor Flight Network and Twitter: HonorFlightNet) from November 1 through November 10 culminating with a compilation video on Veteran’s Day that hubs can use to send to the veterans who were unable to fly this year – reassuring them they will receive an opportunity to experience a Honor Flight as soon as it’s safe to do so,” she added.
If you’d like to assist the program Harlow said, “We encourage your readers to reach out to his or her local Hub to participate as a volunteer or to sign up a veteran to participate on a Honor Flight. We are currently accepting applications from veterans who served in WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the service periods in between. We also highly encourage terminally ill veterans of all service eras to participate in our Lone Eagle Program which is administered via our national office along with a program to fly veterans who do not live within 120 miles of an existing Honor Flight Hub. They can find the nearest Hub and more information on all of our programs at, www.honorflight.org”