Honor Flight of West Central Florida is one of 104 hubs across the U.S. Each year, the group organizes a series of trips for WWII vets to enjoy, cost free. The 24-hour-rendezvous gives the "greatest generation" the opportunity to see some memorial sites in Washington D.C.
The World War II Memorial wasn't finished until 2005, which means that a lot of vets have yet to see it. There are roughly 32,000 WWII soldiers in the Tampa Bay area and Honor Flight gives each of them the chance to see the memorial that was erected in their honor.
In 2011, Honor Flight of West Central Florida provided four trips to D.C. With each group, the number of attendees climbed higher. By the final trip of 2011 in October, the Honor Flight of West Central Florida took up an entire aircraft.
A total of 241 vets were shuttled to and from DC in 2011 with four trips in all. This year's first mission will be in April and the group is preparing now.
Monetary donations are always accepted. With the cost of airfare and meals, each trip costs more than $50,000. If you would like to make a contribution to the Honor Flight of West Central Florida, send a check to:
- Honor Flight of West Central Florida- PO Box 55661, St. Pete FL, 33732
- Go to www.honorflightwcf.org and use the Pay Pal donation feature
The Honor Flight of West Central Florida is looking for non-monetary donations as well. Things like oxygen equipment, motor coach services, food/beverage and commemorative items are also needed.
94 years old was the average age of the WWII veterans that attended last year's first mission. Around the US, about 1,000 WWII soldiers are lost each year.
Honor Flight gives military heroes an opportunity to not only be recognized as the "greatest generation" but also to soak up a memorial that is in place because of their sacrifice.