For the past 3 years Honor Flight South Florida (HFSF) has provided South Florida vets with a trip to Washington, D.C. to visit the many war memorials built in their honor. It is a trip they may never forget.
There are a projected 1,583,700 veterans in Florida and it is expected to grow, according to the Department of Veteran Affairs. While Honor Flights have taken veterans from all over the United States on these trips for years, it seemed that South Florida was not well served. That all changed, however, when Rick Asper came to the field. In May of 2012 Rick went to a training seminar to begin his own little “hub”. He was originally a Veteran Guide on some of the trips, assisting veterans with wheel chairs and other needs. It wasn’t until his pastor came up to him and suggested that he should make a hub that he agreed. Almost instantaneously, Honor Flight South Florida was born.
A day to remember
Veterans who go on an Honor Flight meet at Fort Lauderdale International Airport at 4:30 in the morning. Complementary wheel chairs are provided for even the most able-bodied. The veterans eat breakfast before embarking at 7 a.m. for the flight that is scheduled to land at 9:30 a.m.
From the airport, the veterans get on a police-escorted charter bus to one of the most memorable memorials, the World War II memorial. At this memorial the World War II veterans are given a time to reflect on what they gave and what they did. They will take a picture with the whole group and a new honoring ceremony occurs as well.
In the new honoring “Flags of Our Heroes” ceremony, active duty personnel carry a folded United States Flag and an honorary plaque of a veteran who was unable to live to go on an honor flight. At the World WAR II memorial, they will have their flag and plaque mounted for the day.
After visiting the astonishing memorial, the veterans continue on to some of the many other memorials including the Korean War Memorial, Vietnam War Memorial, Vietnam Wall, Iwo Jima Flag Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery. When the veterans are finished soaking in all these amazing memorials, they return to the coach and take a tour of D.C. (if time allows).
Honor Flight South Florida then returns to Fort Lauderdale International Airport at 8 p.m. with all the veterans in hand.
Join the homecoming
Honor Flight South Florida requests every willing person to give our veterans a warm homecoming at 8 p.m. on October 17th at Fort Lauderdale International Airport. When the plane lands and the veterans get off, Honor Flight South Florida hopes those who appreciate their service would greet them with flags waving and hearty cheers to show them South Florida loves and supports our veterans.
If you’d like to volunteer for a flight, nominate a veteran or attend the homecoming visit www.HonorFlightSouthFlorida.org.
Geoffrey Still is an intern with Good News, student editor of Calvary Christian Academy’s SOAR.ccaeagles.org and founder of the “Crusader Corner” at Coral Springs Christian Academy.