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To millions of Americans Nov. 6, 2012 is Election Day. To nearly 70 mid-Missouri heroes, Nov. 6 will be the day they fly to Washington DC to see memorials dedicated to their military service — and could quite possibly be one of the greatest days of their lives. The next Central Missouri Honor Flight (CMHF) will also represent the final flight in 2012 before winter arrives.
On board Flight #21 will be nearly 70 veterans who will enjoy a one-day tour of the WWII Memorial, Korean War Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, Battle of Iwo Jima Memorial, and Arlington National Cemetery. At the Tomb of the Unknowns, honor flight veterans are quietly and respectfully acknowledged during the Changing of the Guard.
CMHF’s 21st mission departs Columbia at 2 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6, and returns to a rousing homecoming at 12:30 a.m. at the Courtyard Marriott. Traveling with the veterans will be a medical team as well as guardians who assist veterans with wheelchairs, walkers, oxygen and companionship on the flight.
“All of our veterans and guardians are busy now casting their absentee ballots since they will be away from their polling places on Nov. 6,” says Mary Paulsell, CMHF president.
CMHF, an all-volunteer organization that began in 2009, has safely flown 1,248 mid-Missouri veterans to the nation’s capital. Currently, the goal is to reach as many WWII veterans as possible. Veterans of the Korean conflict are being added to flights as space allows, and many guardians participating on the flights are themselves veterans of the Vietnam, Desert Storm, OEF and OIF conflicts.
CMHF Speakers Bureau provides programs for service clubs and groups all over mid-Missouri and welcomes speaking requests at the CMHF website: www.centralmissourihonorflight.com. If you’d like to contribute or apply to assist as a volunteer, go to www.centralmissourihonorflight.com for more information. It costs $300 to sponsor a veteran on the Honor Flight; our veterans fly free.
Homecoming at the Courtyard Marriott, 3301 Lemone Industrial Drive, Columbia is a highlight. The public is encouraged to arrive at approximately midnight on Tuesday, Nov. 6, to get a good view of the returning heroes. Seeing members of the public waiting to greet them brings smiles to the veterans’ faces and tears to their eyes. It is never too late to show gratitude to our veterans for the freedoms we enjoy today—especially on Election Day!
Central Missouri Honor Flights resume in the spring of 2013.