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Honor Flight No. 15 of Southern New Mexico and El Paso made another trip to Washington, D.C., April 27-29.
This nonprofit organization, which was founded by a retired Air Force pilot in 2004, allows veterans to visit the memorials in Washington at no cost to them. It began with World War II veterans, then expanded to Korean War veterans and then to Vietnam War veterans.
Many cities now have Honor Flights. I want to give many, many thanks to ours in Las Cruces, starting with the officers, volunteers, guardians and sponsors who make it possible. There is a lot of time and energy spent with applicants, making arrangements and coordinating from start to finish.
This flight started at 1 a.m. Thursday, April 27, and we were back home at 9 p.m. Saturday, April 29.
We saw a lot and learned a lot. There were 18 veterans from Las Cruces and 17 from El Paso. It was a very rewarding, once-in-a-lifetime chapter in our lives.
Our visit day concluded at Arlington National Cemetery at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where the changing of the guard takes place every half hour, rain or shine.
There were receptions at all the airports we stopped, with lots of fanfare.
I recommend others consider applying for future flights as volunteers or guardians. Donations are appreciated for the program’s continuation.
God Bless the USA.
Mannie Morales, Las Cruces