A hundred people enjoyed delicious country sausage gravy over
biscuits, served along with a wide selection of homemade bakery
items provided by the women's group.
Ray Wiedle, director of the Land of Lincoln Honor Flight program,
was guest speaker. He related that the national Honor Flight program
was started in 2005 and the Midwest program, headquartered in
Springfield, began in March of 2009.
Nationally, 81,000 WWII veterans have made the Honor Flights to
our nation's capital to see the WWII Memorial and other sites. Since
2005, there have been 833 veterans from the Midwest who have taken
the Land of Lincoln Honor Flight out of Springfield.
Wiedle said the day begins with a flight taking off at 7 a.m.
from Springfield and returning around 10 p.m. the same day.
Guardians accompany each veteran, paying their own way at $400 each.
The guardians must be young and strong enough to help veterans with
their wheelchairs and any other needs, such as oxygen equipment.
Veterans with terminal illnesses are given highest priority.
Three time periods have been designated for military veterans to
be eligible for the free Honor Flight program: WWII through Dec. 31,
1946; Jan. 1, 1947-Dec. 31, 1957; and Jan. 1, 1958-May 31, 1975.
Wiedle said the Honor Flight program is a non-for-profit
501(c)(3) organization, with most of the finances provided by
individual contributions. In addition, he said, significant
fundraising comes from events such as the American Legion breakfast
on Saturday in Mount Pulaski.
The master of ceremonies, Alan Roos, past commander of Post 447,
asked that all veterans who have made the Honor Flight stand, and
about 12 did so, including several from Lincoln and Chestnut.
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It was announced that the Unit 447 Women's Auxiliary had pledged
$400 in addition to the contributions taken in at the breakfast.
Phyllis Beccue, former president of the women's group and
coordinator of the breakfast, said the overall contribution from
this breakfast fundraiser to the Land of Lincoln Honor Flight
program will be $1,200.
At the beginning of the event, the Post 447 honor guard marched
in and posted colors. The Pledge of Allegiance was recited and the
"Star-Spangled Banner" was rendered a cappella by all.
Wiedle was asked afterward about the future of the Honor Flight
program. He answered sadly that the program may not continue after
all the WWII and Korean veterans have died, since there may not ever
again be the determination and extreme interest that has been and is
being exhibited by our present and past WWII veterans.
For more information, visit the Land of Lincoln Honor Flight
[Text from file received from Phil