Central Missouri Honor Flight No. 60 scheduled Monday
COLUMBIA — The journey of healing and closure begins for 110 veterans when Central Missouri Honor Flight (CMHF) No. 60 launches in the early morning hours on Monday, Sept. 23. CMHF’s 60th mission departs Columbia at 1:45 a.m. Monday, Sept. 23, and comes back to a rousing public homecoming at 9:30 p.m. at the Courtyard by Marriott in Columbia. These heroes are escorted back to the hotel and arrive under the stars and stripes provided by the Columbia Fire Department. Area law enforcement agencies, including the Missouri State Highway Patrol, make it possible that the Honor Flight buses return to the hotel in grand style.
On Monday, a blended passenger list of veterans who proudly served our country will be treated to a trip of a lifetime to Washington, D.C., to see the memorials dedicated to their military service. Honor Flight No. 60 features 110 heroes from the Korean War and Vietnam War — flying at no cost thanks to the generosity of those who donate to this all-volunteer organization.
Because the organization has taken most of the World War II veterans in Central Missouri, the trips consist primarily of a mixture of Korean War veterans and Vietnam veterans. Organizers said they feel fortunate to have been able to make this day a reality for so many veterans from all three conflicts. And many guardians participating on the flights are veterans of the Vietnam War, Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
These deserving heroes will enjoy a one-day tour of the WWII Memorial, Korean War Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, Marine Corps Memorial, Air Force Memorial, Women in Military Service Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery. At the Tomb of the Unknowns, Honor Flight veterans are quietly and respectfully acknowledged during the Changing of the Guard.
CMHF has safely flown more than 4,000 veterans to the nation’s capital since the organization was founded in 2008. Since then, over $4 million in donations have been raised to make these flights happen. If you would like to contribute or apply to assist as a volunteer, go to www.centralmissourihonorflight.com for more information. It costs $300 to sponsor a veteran on the Honor Flight.
Homecoming at the Courtyard by Marriott, 3301 Lemone Industrial Drive, Columbia, is a highlight as well as a great community event. The public is encouraged to arrive at 8:45 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 23, to get a good view of the returning veterans and to view the inspirational flag ceremony in the hotel parking lot. You won’t want to miss seeing the veterans’ faces as they are welcomed home while the Honor Flight Pipes and Drums play.
Seeing the crowd waiting to greet them is the perfect “welcome home” that so many Honor Flight veterans never received but all deserved.