ST. LOUIS — A special military mission – decades in the making – launched from St. Louis Lambert International Airport in the pre-dawn hours on Tuesday.
A group of military veterans flew to our nation’s capital to witness the memorials constructed in their honor.
This marks the 98th mission for Greater St. Louis Honor Flights, an organization committed to allowing American veterans an opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. to witness the memorials for their respective wars and their service.
Veterans and their escorts started gathering about 3:30 a.m. and departed at 5:30 a.m. Sixty veterans made the trip this time.
Once they arrived in our nation’s capital, they were scheduled to visit the Lincoln Memorial, as well the memorials for veterans from the Viet Nam War, the Korean War, WWII, the Marine Corps Memorial, which is the statue at Iwo Jima, the changing of the Guard at Arlington National Cemetery, and the Air Force Memorial.
Greater St. Louis Honor Flights hosted the trip and picks up the tab for the veterans. The organization is dependent on donations. Their most recent trip was May 17.
Tuesday’s trip included 13 Korean War veterans, 47 Viet Nam veterans and two sets of brothers.
U.S. Army veteran Orvin Neumeier has been there before.
“They had a platoon of soldiers that were in bronze and the most impressive thing about it was the expressions on their faces,” said Neumeier, choking back tears.
“Well, it’s a wonderful opportunity. I have been to D.C. before, many years ago, but I was by myself,” Edward Post, another U.S. Army Veteran, said. “So, now I’m going to be with friends that have not been and maybe I can be some solace, because there will be some sad moments.”
Tuesday’s honor flight also included all 25 members of the Viet Nam Veterans of America Chapter 458 from St. Charles County.
The charter flight will return Tuesday night.
Greater St. Louis Honor Flights’ 99th mission is scheduled for September 13, and 100 is scheduled for November 1.