Honor Flight Serves American Veterans Who Served Their Country

Harry Nicholas, 94, is a World War II vet who took the 12th Central Valley Honor Flight to see the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. with his daughter, Toni Glosson.

Nicholas spent four years serving during the war which Glosson refers to as “a time of great suffering.” Nicholas has kept a smile on his face, nonetheless.

He says that the war made him who he is.  After the war, he returned home and began a successful farm in Orange Cove.  He’s glad that he got to travel to different countries, meet different people, and serve his country.

68 veterans, including Nicholas, from WWII, Korean War and Vietnam War took the Honor Flight from California’s central region to visit the WWII Memorial. The desire to serve is what brought the vets, their guardians, and the organizers together.

Glosson was grateful that the organizers put together a well-organized trip.

The national honor flight program was established in 2005. It allows veterans to visit their memorials in Washington via an all-expenses paid trip.  There are 130 hubs in 42 states.  Nearly 160,000 veterans have been on trips through the program since it began.

The Central Valley Honor Flight was founded in 2013.  It has raised around $2.3 million and sent nearly 850 veterans to DC in that time.  The president of the Central Valley Honor Flight is Al Perry.  This trip was his last flight with the program.

He called his time with the program “extraordinary.”  He felt like serving the program was a continuation of his service to the country.  “There’s no possible way I could have said no,” he stated.

Many helpers in the program are veterans themselves.  Others, like trip leader Mike Hopkins, look at helping the program as their way to serve.  Hopkins called it a sense of duty to serve.

On this trip’s itinerary: lunch at the National Air and Space Museum, a drive past the White House, a visit to Arlington National Cemetery including the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The next day, they will view the Women in Military Service for America Memorial and the Air Force Memorial, Fresno Bee reported.

Jim Brockett is a Korean War veteran who served from 1950 to 1952.  He knew many of the servicemen who were killed.  He worked in public service after leaving the military.  He served as the city of Selma’s manager, councilman, mayor and police chief for 25 years.

Brockett had never been to Washington, D.C.  He felt that it was an amazing experience to get to see the memorial.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE