UP Honor Flight encourages community to welcome veterans home May 25

This is the first U.P. Honor Flight since 2019.
Published: May. 19, 2022 at 1:33 PM EDT
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ESCANABA, Mich. (WLUC) - In less than a week, the U.P. Honor Flight will take deserving veterans to the nation’s capital for the first time in nearly three years. For some U.P. veterans, the Honor Flight is their only opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. and see memorials for the war in which they fought.

“When they called me and told me who they were and asked me if I wanted to go, yes! I’m going. When? I was excited,” said Joan Smith, a Vietnam-era veteran.

Smith lives in Bark River and served from 1965 until 1968. She was a 94B20 – a cook in the U.S. Army. She joined simply because she wanted to.

“I felt like it. There was really nothing around that interested me and I am not a school person,” said Smith.

It was a time when it wasn’t common for women to be in the service. Smith says at that time, women were treated like they had the plague.

Smith will be one of 85 veterans on the flight set to leave next Wednesday. It’s the first U.P. Honor Flight since 2019 and the first flight to have no WWII veterans.

“There were two scheduled to go with us, but they have canceled their reservation,” said Scott Knauf, U.P. Honor Flight President.

U.P. Honor Flight is funded entirely by the community.

“The Upper Peninsula is amazing and how they support our mission. They do fundraisers for us, there are different golf tournaments happening this summer,” said Knauf.

You can continue supporting our veterans by welcoming them home from Washington D.C. For some, it’s a greeting they never received.

“Being Vietnam-era, we did not get it,” said Smith.

The Delta County Airport in Escanaba will open at 7 p.m. on May 25 for the community to fill the hangar. The plane is scheduled to land at 8:30 p.m. Everyone is encouraged to come out and welcome our veterans home.

With rising costs, the Honor Flight Board hopes to keep this flight under $130,000. As always, this trip is entirely free to veterans.

To donate to U.P. Honor Flight, click here.

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