USA Today Spotlights Program to Honor World War II Vets

Every veteran of World War II who is still living should see the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.  Bringing vets to the memorial is the hope and mission of a group called Honor Flight Network, which USA Today featured in the May 22 edition.

The three-quarter page feature in the paper's Life section reported that Honor Flight intends to provide free transportation to Washington, D.C. for as many as 12,000 veterans this year alone.  In 2007 the group brought 6,000 veterans to the nation's capital so they could see, first hand, the monument erected to honor them.  Honor Flight Network knows it is in a race against time as approximately 1,200 World War II veterans die each day.  The group hopes to make it possible for every veteran to see the memorial.

According to USA Today,

The Honor Flight program was conceived by Earl Morse, a physician assistant, pilot and retired Air Force captain, to honor the veterans he had taken care of for 27 years.

After retiring in 1998, Morse was hired by the Department of Veterans Affairs to work in a clinic in Springfield, Ohio. He quickly realized most World War II vets would never visit the memorial that was completed in 2004. He set out to change that with free trips paid for by public contributions.

The Honor Flight Network Web site,, notes that there are other groups with similar names who charge fees for flights to visit the WWII Memorial.  The Web site also provides information on how people can volunteer to help ensure that a World War II veteran's visit to the memorial is, well, memorableUSA Today's write up makes it clear the experience is rewarding for both vets and volunteers:

Volunteers waved American flags and applause broke out in the gate area as the 36 vets slowly came into the terminal, some waving, some saluting, some obviously startled by the reception. More than a few tears were shed by both the vets and their greeters.

Those of us fortunate enough to have visited the World War II Memorial know that the monument feels almost sacred.  It inspires deep feelings of awe and gratitude for the hundreds of thousands of American patriots who fought in that war. An organization that seeks to bring to that memorial the very men and women it was built to honor deserves front page recognition and a story on every television newscast.  Kudos to USA Today for spotlighting the program.  Hopefully, such a feature in “America's Newspaper” will bring needed attention and funding to help Honor Flight Network achieve its goal.

And on this Memorial Day weekend, the staff of the Culture and Media Institute wishes to extend to our veterans, active duty military members and your families, our profound gratitude and appreciation for your service to our country.  May God richly bless you all. 

Kristen Fyfe is senior writer at the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center.