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Mt. Pulaski , Illinois
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October 8, 2011     Times
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October 8, 2011
 

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Land of Lincoln Honor Flight 1 I Submitted By Dwain Marten Written By Lorene Stoil A preflight dinner was held in Spring- field September 12 for all of the veterans that were planning on going on the flight to Washington DC. This gave all of the Veterans a chance to see and greet each other before the flight the next day. World War II veterans must fill out an application and then are picked on a first come first served-basis to go on the flight. The Honor Flight program is about four years old and originated in Ohio. My understanding is that when all of the World War II veterans have made this flight they will then start on the Korean War veterans. What an Honor to be chosen for this flight and what wonderful memories all veterans will have of this day of honor for them. On Tuesday morning Dwain Marten, Gene Byrne, Hubert StoU all from Chestnut; Dallas Knoy from Mt. Pulaski; and Robert Drake from Beason - were at the Springfield airport by 5Am for the flight along with about 160 other veterans from around the area. Each veteran Is accompanied by a guardian, who may be a family member or another volunteer to take Care of all of the needs of the veterans for the day. All guardians must also fill out an application stating that they will be responsible for a veteran for the day. We boarded the Chartered plane about 6:15 for our flight. We were served breakfast on board our flight. Each veteran was presented with a t-shirt and a cap to wear for the day if they so desired. On the back of the t-shirt was written... "If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you can read this in English thank a Veteran. "" We flew into Ronald Reagan airport and prepared to board our buses. Each veteran and his guardian wore a red, white or blue sticker on their shirt to identify which bus they would be riding on for that day. After boarding our buses we then drove to the World War II Memorial. While at the Memorial we witnessed a flag ceremony, had a group ptcture taken and then names of fallen soldiers from, World War II were read and we observed a moment of silence. It was a very impressive ceremony. We then traveled to the Korean, Viemam and Lincoln Memorials, spending time at each memorial. How impressive all of these memorials are. We visited the Air and Space Museum and saw some of the planes and tanks from the war there also. Lunch was provided for us on the bus as we tra~r- [ S0alt Creek AtticL ]Health Care Ne Country Decor, Antiques, Florals, Unique Handcrafted Treasures So Much More 6 eled to visit the Iwo Jima Memorial. Upon leaving here we then traveled to Arlington National Cemetery to view the changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. We also visited the Air Force Memorial and then trav- eled to the airport, to board our plane for the flight home. Each time, as we re.boarded our bus, we had roll call of make sure everyone was present. Our evening meal was served to us in the ter- minal, and then we boarded our airplane for the long flight home. We had mail call on the flight home and each veteran received letters and cards from family and friends thanking us for our service to our country and hoping that we enjoyed our day in Washington DC. It was a long day and for each of us, but one that we will remember for many years to come. These flights are all-free to the veter- ans and are funded by donations, This is a tribute to all veterans for all file sacn- rices that they endured so that the rest of us can live FREE. Dwain Marten, U.S. Matin Corps, E- 4 Corporal, 1943-1946 Pacific, Bougain- ville; 1st Marine Air Wing; Postal Clerk; Remembers the 29 days from San Diego to New Caledonia; After war; Home right after the bomb was dropped; took 14 days to get home. From Chestnut, Dwain's guardian was an ex-Marine and ex-State Trooper. Gene Byrne, U.S. Army, PFC, 1946- 1947 North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Engine Mechanic; Remembers gaining friendships; After war; Ag Courses. helped farm, worked for road commis- sioner, radio repair. From Chestnut, Gene's guardian was an army veteran and ex-State Trooper. Hubert Stoll, U. S. Army, PFC. 1945- 1946 Japan; Radio/Telephone; Remem- bers viewing airplanes that had been shot/damaged at Japan airport; After war; farmed. From Chesmut, Hubert's guardian was his son, Dennis. Dallas Knoy U. S. Air Corps. Corporal. 1942-1945; Pacific, Arctic, Alaska; Lend Mt. Pulaski Times lease with Russia; Service Squadron for incoming plane for Russia, Remembers escorting Russian Pilots; After war; Day by day labor. From Mt. Pulaski, Dallas's guardian was his son, Danny. Robert Drake, U.S. Army, Tech 3rd Grade Staff Sgt. 1943-1945 Europe. Campaign in the Vosges Mountains, Sur- gical Tech; Aid to Germans; remembers coming home on the Queen Elizabeth and seeing the Statue of Liberty. After war; Glad to be home. From Beason, Robert's guardian was a friend. Taking Our Heroes to see THEIR Memorial The official Honor Flight program was conceived by Earl Morse, a physician assistant and retired Air Force Captain to honor veterans he had the privilege of treating for over twenty-seven years. Earl was a pilot and in 2004 he arranged to fly one of his patients free of charge to visit the memorial. Then another. He began enlisting other pilots to help him and in early 2005 he and others met and created the program. The local, Illinois chapter, started by Don Niehart, is a not-for-profit Illinois corporation. They meet with local civic groups and gather names through the VFW, American Legion and other orga- nizations in downstate Illinois. One guardian is required for each vet- eran that requires assistance with a cane, walker or wheelchair. For those veterans who are mobile and can walk without assistance, a guardian is assigned to groups of three veterans. Each volun- teer guardian pays his or her own way while the veteran travels free including transportation for the daylong journey commencing at 4Am and ending at 9: 30Pm. Representatives of Horror Flight meet the veterans and participate in a 1-2 hour ceremony at the World War II Memorial. Following the ceremony, the group visits other memorials, monu- ments or sites, depending on pre-deter- mined schedules. Ot. 1, 2011