Honor Flight N.E. – Taking Flight to Honor Our Veterans

 More than 200 Actions Taken in 23 States


By: Cecelia Calabrese – March, 2012

According to recent statistics, we are losing approximately 1000 World War II veterans every day. Time grows preciously scarce for each one of us to take advantage of the opportunity to let these extraordinary men and women know just how deeply we appreciate the sacrifices they made during WWII to ensure the blessings of freedom.

This spring we all will have two chances to do just that by participating in the appreciation flag line to greet war veterans taking part in Honor Flights to visit the memorials of in Nation’s Capitol.

Honor Flight New England was started in June 2009 by retired law enforcement officer, Joe Byron. Headquartered in Hooksett, New Hampshire, Honor Flight New England has conducted 19 flights from New England to Washington, D.C., hosting 551 veterans. The mission of Honor Flight is to provide transportation for our veterans to Washington D.C. to visit our nation’s memorials dedicated to their service and sacrifice. Without this vital service, veterans might not otherwise have the opportunity to visit these hallowed structures.

On a typical itinerary, trips depart from either Manchester or Boston Logan Airport. The first stop is the World War II Memorial, then over to witness the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown. After that solemn reflection, the veterans then visit the Korean War Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Viet Nam War Memorial, the Iwo Jima Memorial and the Air Force Memorial. The day is capped off with dinner, then the flight home.

Joe says that one of the things he enjoys most about his service in the Honor Flight program is the light-hearted camaraderie that the veterans share. Since they are with people that have similar experiences, they are able to let their guard down and relate stories with fellow veterans that they might not otherwise feel comfortable sharing.

Honor Flight New England is always looking for people to volunteer with donations of time or money, or both. All readers are encouraged to participate in the flag line that will greet veterans arriving for two upcoming Honor Flights.

On April 20, 2012 Honor Flight invites all people interested in showing their appreciation to our veterans by being at the Main Terminal of Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, Manchester, NH before 6:00am. Veterans will be arriving for their Honor Flight day at 6:05am.

There will also be an Honor Flight on May 22, 2012 out of Logan Airport at the Southwest Airlines Terminal. For that flight the veterans will arrive at 7:40am.

During the upcoming Honor Flights this spring, Joe and the Honor Flight staff will be host to six WWII women veterans and one husband-wife veteran couple.

Funding and volunteerism for this unique program relies greatly upon word-of-mouth. To find out more about volunteer opportunities with Honor Flight New England or to make a donation please visit their web site: www.honorflightnewengland.org.

Why not mail them a check today? Honor Flight New England, P.O. Box 16287, Hooksett, N.H. 03106.

Veterans of all wars are encouraged to file an application to participate in upcoming Honor Flights. Applications can be found on the Honor Flight New England web site. Applications are generally processed on a first-come basis, but any WWII veteran that has been diagnosed with a terminal illness will be moved to the front of the line.

The mission of Honor Flight is to make sure that all veterans get the chance to visit the memorials erected in their honor. Since America made the commitment to build memorials to the service of men and women that made the sacrifices to defend her freedom, Honor Flight believes it is equally important that they actually get to visit and experience THEIR memorial.

Cecilia P. Calabrese is a lawyer and serves on the Agawam City Council. To contact Cecilia about this or any other story, please email her at: cececalabrese@yahoo.com or find her on facebook at cecilia.calabrese@live.com.