Veterans Unable to Travel Treated with Virtual Honor Flight Experience

Honoring longtime U.S. veterans is a wonderful thing to do. No one deserves recognition more than those who laid their lives on the line for our country during wartime.

Of course, fewer and fewer of those longtime veterans are still alive. For instance, there are only five surviving sailors from the USS Arizona. That was the ship sunk by Japanese fighter pilots at Pearl Harbor more than 76 years ago.

Many of these vets can no longer travel for appearances organized by groups who want to honor them. This is due to their age and health.

But students and teachers at a southeastern Florida high school did not want that fact to stop them from paying tribute to these veterans.

Honor Flight Program Is Soaring

A little history is in order here. The Honor Flight Network is a non-profit organization established in 2005. Its purpose is to transport U.S. military veterans to Washington, D.C. by flight. This is so they can view the memorials dedicated to wars in which they were involved.

These memorials include the Air Force Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery and the National World War II Memorial. Plus, the Korean War Veterans Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

The program launched when six small planes flew 12 veterans to the nation’s capital in May 2005. It was instantly popular. The expressed interest of many veterans even resulted in the use of a commercial jet for the program.

Approximately 160,000 veterans have now been flown to the nation’s capital for this purpose over the past 12-plus years.

Veterans Treated Like the Heroes They Are

A typical Honor Flight transports about 100 veterans and volunteer guardians to D.C. and costs $30,000. Donations cover most of the costs. The airlines pitch in for the rest.

These flights originate from all over the country. They land at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport.

And transporting is not the only thing the program involves. There’s also a subgroup of the program known as Heroes’ Welcome. This group organizes welcoming ceremonies at the airports.

Once they land, veterans then receive escorts to their hotels and to the memorials by their volunteer guardians.

Florida Students, Teachers Honor Vets

The only drawback to this amazing program? Some of our veterans are not physically capable of making the trip.

But with the support of students and teachers from Suncoast High School in Riviera Beach, Florida, Honor Flight volunteers and staff remedied the situation.

They recently started a Suncoast Virtual Honor Flight program. It brings the Honor Flight experience and memorials to World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War veterans. The inaugural event was held on January 20.

During the spring of 2017, Suncoast student videographers traveled to Washington, D.C. on an Honor Flight. There they captured footage of the event. They then created a virtual experience and showed it to veterans at the Florida event in January.

There were approximately 50 Virtual Honor Flight veterans in attendance.

Each veteran was assigned a Student Guardian to assist them throughout the day.

4Patriots Steps in to Help

Veterans said they enjoyed seeing video footage of the memorials dedicated to the wars in which they fought. They also enjoyed being greeted by members of the community who expressed appreciation for their service.

It was a somber and emotional day for many of the veterans as they remembered fallen comrades. But it was also a joyous occasion for veterans. They celebrated their years of service with attendees who demonstrated their thankfulness.

You already know the value that 4Patriots places on active-duty and veteran U.S. military members. So it won’t surprise you to learn that we were a financial supporter of this Florida event.

Your purchases of our products are what make our donations possible. So thank you once again for your support. There is no one more deserving than our military heroes.


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