In May 2004, the World War II Memorial was added to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to honor the 16 million veterans who served in the armed forces of the United States, the more than 400,000 who died, and all who supported the war effort from back home. The memorial is a monument to the spirit, sacrifice, and commitment of the American people. It’s the only 20th century event commemorated on the National Mall’s central axis.
At the time the Memorial opened, Earl Morse, a retired Air Force Captain, was working as a physician’s assistant for the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, in a small clinic in Springfield, Ohio. Captain Morse asked the many World War II veterans who were patients at the clinic if they had been to see their memorial. All too often, the answer was no. For many of these seniors, the trip to our Nation’s Capitol was just not financially or physically possible. Many needed assistance for travel, but had no family or friends able to make the journey with them.
A private pilot, Captain Morse began offering to fly veterans to the memorial, and thus the Honor Flight program was born. Beginning with a small group of volunteer pilots and small planes in the Ohio area where Captain Morse lived, the program has since expanded to include commercial flights serving veterans throughout the country, with the help of a dedicated volunteer, Jeff Miller, of Hendersonville, North Carolina.
In February 2006, Captain Morse and Miller joined forces and co-founded the Honor Flight Network, which currently has 71 hubs in 30 states. Their goal is to establish a hub in all 50 states by the end of 2009. The Network aims to transport 25,000 veterans from across the United States to the World War II Memorial. In the future, Honor Flight hopes to expand its program to service veterans of the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
For more information, or to find out how you can sponsor the Honor Flight Network, visit www.honorflight.org. If you want to help financially, mail your tax-deductible donation to:
Honor Flight, Inc.
Attn: Tom O’Neal
300 E. Auburn Ave.
Springfield, OH 45505
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