Honor Flight takes off Saturday

Staff reports

DAYTON — Honor Flight Dayton is extremely pleased to announce that 92 WWII, Korean, and Vietnam veterans will be able to see the memorials built in their honor this Saturday. Be part of this patriotic event and experience it firsthand by coming to the Dayton International Airport by 9:45 a.m. Saturday for the final welcome of 2016. Welcome and cheer for the brave men and women who fought for our freedom.

“The Dayton International Airport is proud to be the host Airport and work with Honor Flight of Dayton in this great opportunity to honor our veterans,” said Terrence G. Slaybaugh, director of aviation for the City of Dayton.

The veterans arrive at 3:30 a.m. to prepare to board an aircraft at 6 a.m., then they fly to Washington D.C., to visit the WWII Memorial, Korean Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, USMC War Memorial, USAF Memorial, Arlington Cemetery, the Changing of the Guard at the Tombs of the Unknown Soldiers and other sites. This free tour is a “thank you” for their service and the freedoms they secured for all of us.

Upon arrival back at the Dayton Airport around 10:30 p.m., a military guard of about 200 USAF personnel welcome the veterans and form a symbolic honor march to accompany them from the arrival gate to the Honor Corridor for their final special welcome. The Honor Corridor is lined by the color guards of the United States Air Force, Air Force Junior ROTC, and the Miami Valley Young Marines. The entire corridor is lined by additional military groups, Vietnam Veterans of America, Boy Scouts of America, Patriot Pin-Up Girls, Knights of Columbus, members of police and fire departments, and a multitude of the veterans’ loved ones.

For many veterans, it is the welcome home they never received and a small tribute for those who gave so much.

The Dayton International Airport supplies complementary water, beverages, fruits, and pastries to the outbound veterans as they make their way to their departure gate in the morning. Additional airport staff, police, and firefighters are on hand to assist the group in their departure and return to the airport.

Honor Flight Dayton is inviting all who wish to attend this event. Patriotic attire and signs are encouraged. Present and former military and public safety personnel are encouraged to come in uniform. PARK-N-GO in Vandalia offers free parking to anyone who comes to the Honor Flight. Just show up, stand up, and cheer from the heart.

Staff reports