Land of Lincoln Honor Flight to take flight #37 on April 19th

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[April 16, 2016]  Land of Lincoln Honor Flight (LLHF), beginning their eighth year of operation, will take their first flight of the 2016 season on Tuesday, April 19th. On this Flight #37, LLHF will be honoring 5 World War II, 30 Korean and 44 Vietnam War era Veterans, consisting of 13 who served in the Air Force, 47 in the Army, 7 in the Marines, 9 in the Navy and 3 in the Coast Guard. On this no-cost, day long trip to Washington, DC, to visit and reflect at their national memorials, all the Veterans will be accompanied by a volunteer escort, who are responsible for the comfort, logistics, mobility and safety of their doyen for the full day.

These 79 heroes come from 50 Illinois cities and communities, consisting of Alton, Auburn, Beason, Benton, Bethalto, Brighton, Bunker Hill, Carlinville, Carrollton, Champaign, Chatham, Clinton, Congerville, Coulterville, Danville, Decatur, Downs, Effingham, Eldred, Forrest, Gibson City, Heyworth, Hillsboro, Jacksonville, Lake Fork, Lincoln, Litchfield, Loraine, Manito, Marion, McNabb, Morton, Murrayville, Pana, Pawnee, Peoria, Petersburg, Rochester, Springfield, Staunton, Steeleville, Taylorville, Troy, Vandalia, Virden, Virginia, Warrensburg, White Hall, Williamsville and Witt.

Departing Springfield shortly after 6 AM on a chartered 737 jet, the 162 Veterans, guardians and LLHF personnel will fly to DC, where they then will be transported on three coach buses designated Red, White and Blue for the day. Their itinerary includes the World War II, Korean and Vietnam War National Memorials, the Air Force & Marine (Iwo Jima) Memorials, the National Air & Space Museum and Arlington National Cemetery. There they will view the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers and Changing of the Guard. During the day all will also have the opportunity to visit the Lincoln Memorial, as well as see the Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial, the Pentagon and much more from the bus prior to departing back to Springfield.

Friends, family and the general public are encouraged to come to the “Welcome Home” at Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport that evening to show your appreciation for the service and sacrifices these Veterans gave to our country. They are expected to return around 9:30 PM, although it is suggested to be to the airport at least 30-60 minutes earlier. Show your patriotic spirit with red-white-blue clothing, balloons, posters, small flags, handshakes, hugs, etc. They stood up for you, please come stand up for them.

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Veteran applications continue to be accepted, with priority given in the following order: World War II (person enlisted by 12/31/1946), then Korean War Era (01/01/1947 to 12/31/1957), followed by the Vietnam War Era (01/01/1958 to 05/07/1975). Any certified terminally ill Veteran should contact LLHF directly. Also, because every Veteran flies with a guardian escort - a volunteer who pays their own way - applications for future guardians are also currently being accepted. This may be any able-bodied person, 18-70 years old, except for Veterans who have already been honored with a flight or a spouse/significant other of a Veteran on a flight. For the guardian fee, included is LLHF training, cap & t-shirt, round-trip flight, bus tour during the day, meals & snacks, and the rare privilege of spending the day honoring our true heroes – the Veterans.

Veteran or Guardian Applications may be obtained at or by contacting John Dust at HonorFlight  or phone 309-339-0227. LLHF is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that receives no government funding or grants. It is only able to honor the Veterans on these flights to DC due to the generous donations, sponsorships, fundraising events, merchandise sales and supporting efforts of the many local businesses, individuals and organizations within their service area. Please visit the web site to make a donation, consider holding a fundraiser, book a board member speaker or to obtain more information on the Honor Flight mission. Also consider following LLHF on their Facebook page to stay current on upcoming events and flights for this year. Land of Lincoln Honor Flight has also announced upcoming flights on May 17th and June 21st. An August, September and October flight are being planned, pending available funding.

[John Dust]

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