Veterans Honor Flight
By Nancy Porter
 


Honor Flight is a program that takes veterans from their home area to Washington, DC on a free trip to visit the memorials dedicated to their service and sacrifice.  California hasn’t done these flights for a few years and veterans groups are finding that a lot of the older veterans either can’t fly the long distances or don’t want to be gone from home.  A group in Florida took this information and put together a Virtual experience for veterans.  They were great to share with northern California.

May 17, Sacramento area veterans and service organizations put together one of these Virtual Honor Flights for our veterans here.  It was the first of its kind in California.  Forty or more veterans arrived at the Church of the Foothills in Cameron Park on a rainy Friday morning.  They came in private vehicles and buses from retirement homes, each being met by an assigned younger veteran who was their guide for the day.

After some visiting time, the veterans and guides went through “security” staffed by Sacramento TSA agents.  They were then each escorted through cheering crowds of adults and students, arriving in the church hall that would serve as their airport waiting area.  Breakfast snacks were served and lap blankets distributed.

The veterans were then treated to speeches from a well-known local MC, a Southwest Airlines pilot and others as they also watched a film showing the view from the plane going into Washington, DC and tours of the monuments.  Lunch was served by area high school students and others.  Veterans also had photos taken with a Green Screen background; later they will receive photos with a background of the event.  After lunch, the veterans went back into the social hall for the “return flight”.  All left the event with large goodie bags and big smiles.

Local World War II-era vehicles were also on display.  Dave Porter brought his GTB and GPW.  Dennis Deck and Scott Tanis were also there with their jeeps for the day and available to the veterans and their families for photos.

It was so great to see the smiles from veterans, families and others at the event.  Very memorable!!

By the way, all the local Sacramento TV stations were there, too.  Channel 31 and the local CBS station were there almost all day.  Here’s a link to one of the videos: https://gooddaysacramento.cbslocal.com/2019/05/17/el-dorado-county-veterans-virtual-honor-flight/



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