Honor flight program

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Honor flight program

Veterans sitting aboard the honor flight.

Veterans sitting aboard the honor flight.

Photo provided by and credited to QC Honor Flight

Veterans sitting aboard the honor flight.

Photo provided by and credited to QC Honor Flight

Photo provided by and credited to QC Honor Flight

Veterans sitting aboard the honor flight.

Alana Woolison, Photo Manager

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Oct. 25, hugs and tears were in abundance at the Quad City International Airport as 97 war veterans returned home from their trip to Washington D.C. The vets walked through a crowd of family members, friends, and strangers to the acapella music of The Chordbuster Barbershop Chorus to show their support.

Four times a year, War Veterans from WWII and the Korean War eras in the Quad City area are honored for their service through a complimentary flight to visit the memorials in Washington, D.C. The memorial is dedicated to the sacrifices made by every vet.

History and sociology teacher, Trever Zahn, had a few family members that were veterans of WWII. Zahn said, “taking the time to recognize the sacrifices made by all these veterans is something quite noble and rewarding for everyone involved.”

Zahn’s wife’s grandfather and his brother had the opportunity to participate in the Honor Flight in 2016. “This gave them the opportunity to witness first-hand the memorials and recognition of those sacrifices of all the soldiers they fought with.”

War veterans of all ages and walks of life are able to apply for a spot on board. This year marks the 46th annual flight, where vets boarded the plane at 7 a.m. in the morning and returned back around 11:30 p.m the same day.

Everything was all made possible by the Honor Flight of the Quad Cities (HQFC). Each trip costs roughly $90,000, which the HQFC receives from various donors. Hy-Vee is a large proponent of the Honor Flight and has collected around $450,000 in donations for 10 flights alone.

The HQFC was created in 2008, a chapter of the Honor Flight Network. Volunteers help plan and coordinate the flights to make for a more seamless process.

Senior, Lexie Otterson, had a grandfather that was a WWII veteran. She reflected fondly on the kind of person he was. “My grandpa was the most caring and respectful man I’ve ever met in my life. There wasn’t a day that went by when he wasn’t helping someone in some way.”

Zahn knows how much it means to the Honor Flight participants. “The flight serves to remind those veterans that people do continue to care about the sacrifices they have made to defend our country.”