Honor Flight Dayton taking local veterans today: Here’s how you can welcome them home

After a long pandemic hiatus, Honor Flight Dayton today is resuming its escort of veterans to national memorials.

The flight includes 103 World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War-era veterans, with 86 guardians and Honor Flight staff, the organization said.

“It’s wonderful,” organizer Ray Girard told this news outlet. “We certainly missed it during the cold pandemic. It’s really a great thing.”

“The Dayton International Airport is proud to be the host airport and work with Honor Flight of Dayton in this great opportunity to honor our veterans,” said Gil Turner, Dayton aviation director.

Today, staff and 75 volunteers were in place at 2:30 a.m., ready to welcome veterans arriving between 3 and 4 a.m. The boarding process began at 5:30 a.m.

While in Washington D.C., veterans will visit the World War II Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, Vietnam War Wall Memorial and other sites.

“It is an exciting, long, and emotional day for them,” the organization said in a release. “Many of the 6,000 veterans that have previously been on an (Honor Flight) trip have stated that this was one of the best things that happened to them. Being thanked by perfect strangers for their sacrifices decades ago is a life-changing event for the veterans.”

Veterans are expected to return at about 9 p.m. For those who want to greet their return, it is suggested you arrive at around 8 p.m.

There may be a crowd, Girard cautioned.

“I started this job back in 2005. It was 100 people (greeting the returning veterans). Now it’s about 2,000,” he said.

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