WWII Veterans have chance for free trip to Nation's Capital

By Laurie Bernstein - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - It's an experience that many World War II Veterans never forget--their chance to visit their military history depicted on the national stage through a memorial in Washington, D.C.

"There was gentleman talking at his father's funeral, and he said 'After the honor flight, my dad never walked again. He floated above ground for the rest of his life,'" said Royce Ard, who started the local chapter of Honor Flight.

Since 2005, 20,000 veterans have had the chance to visit the WWII memorial, free of charge.

Now, Honor Flight is offering the trip for veterans here in the Valley, but they need your help to make it happen.

"These guys did a lot for our country, but didn't get an official welcome back, so this is our chance to honor them, and give them a chance to see the memorial," said David Lee, a local dee-jay for 95.5 The Ride.

Lee and other dee-jays were out asking for donations Friday morning, trying to drum up support for the cause.

Organizers are trying to raise $68,000, hoping to send 100 veterans to Washington, D.C.

"They all have stories of valor, courage and self sacrifice, and I just want to help give back. They're getting into their 80's, and it's just one of our last best chances to show how much we care," said Ard.

There are many ways to donate...the local chapter of honor flight has a website, wgahonorflight.org

You can also call 706-507- WWII (9944).

They are only halfway to their goal through corporate funding, and they hope to raise all their money by July 4th.

They are also sending 50 guardians on the trip, to help the veterans with anything they need during their time at the memorial.

To be a guardian, all you have to do is pay $400 for your ticket.

The first flight will be September 22nd.