Flight plan — Program faithful steer clear of allowing program to stall

2/18/2014

An inspirational program that's flown numerous World War II vets to the nation's capital may have hit some turbulence in Kansas, but looks to be back on a smooth course.

An inspirational program that's flown numerous World War II vets to the nation's capital may have hit some turbulence in Kansas, but looks to be back on a smooth course.

Evidence of as much came Saturday as a crowd gathered at the Finney County Fairgrounds in support of a program in place to help send more local veterans to Washington, D.C., to see the national memorials and other sights as part of the Kansas Honor Flight program.

Now reorganized, the Honor Flight program battled back after Central Prairie Honor Flight was shut down in 2012 for a variety of problems, including $100,000 in missing funds. Former director LaVeta Miller was arrested in 2012 by Barton County authorities on allegations of theft in connection with the missing funds.

To their credit, an army of supporters loyal to the program kept the important mission alive.

And while the program has been expanded to include Korean War and Vietnam War veterans, it's easy to see how some of the younger vets want to make sure every WWII veteran has an opportunity to go first.

Time is of the essence, as we lose many WWII veterans every day in the nation. Every surviving WWII veteran deserves an opportunity to go on an Honor Flight.

Six Kansas Honor Flights are scheduled in the spring, and more are planned in the fall, depending on funds raised. Each trip costs about $700 per traveler.

Thanks to generous contributions, the trips come at no cost to veterans.

The trips to Washington are a fitting tribute to those who served the nation so well. Many participants also say the experience helped them find closure decades after their service.

Considering all our veterans encountered during war, it would have been a shame to see the program grounded in any way.

As we saw with the local Honor Flight fundraiser, plenty of supporters want to offer their sincere thanks to war veterans for their service.

From trip organizers to others who contribute to the cause, all involved in helping the Honor Flight program stay aloft deserve a heartfelt salute.

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