24th Honor Flight Leaves For Washington D.C. - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

24th Honor Flight Leaves For Washington D.C.

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162 Local Veterans and their guardians woke up this morning ready to take on the nation's capital. It's an all-expenses paid trip and for many, it's their first time to Washington D.C.

92 Veterans, 17 of them World War II veterans, boarded the plane just before 7:00 Thursday morning at the Quad City International Airport.

Honor flight brings our veterans to see the memorials, Arlington National Cemetery and the Changing of the Guard. Touring monuments and memorials built in their honor.

Decades have passed but the trip serves as a day to remember for the soldiers who fought bravely and helped keep our country safe.

It's also a chance to reminisce with other local veterans many say it's much easier to revisit the memories, when there is someone sympathetic at their side.

Leo Keller, a WWII veteran from Rock Island is one of the many veterans on the flight. He spent 3 years in the Navy as a land-based sailor. He tells us he's not especially looking forward to reliving some of the memories, but with his Grandson at his side he knows it will be a day to remember.

His grandson, also named Leo Keller, works with the Army Corps of Engineers at the Rock Island arsenal. It took some convincing but he was able to convince his grandfather to go on the Honor flight.

"On Memorial day we were at the cemetery and were talking about our family history, how Grandpa served in WWII and how his brother served in WWII and he lost his life, and how my great-grandfather served in WWI. Our family has really served our country, we thought it would be nice to honor the whole family," said Leo.

This is just one of the many stories from veterans on the flight.

Aside from having other veterans to share this with each veteran is assigned a guardian. Some are family members and some are randomly selected. These volunteers pay $500 towards their own flight. 

The organization started this trip as a way to get some of the lasting heroes to see how much they are appreciated.

Skyrocketing healthcare costs have drained life savings for many World War II veterans and their spouses making a trip like this impossible without the organization.

To apply for one of the Honor Flight's of the Quad Cities you can go to their website at www.honorflightqc.com