Plans were announced Monday for another “Honor Flight” that will take Iowa World War Two veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit the monuments built in their honor. Hy-Vee announced it will fund a November flight that follows a flight in October funded by the Casey’s convenience store chain. Several veterans were on hand for the announcement — including Ray Chamberlin, a veteran from Vail who now lives in Des Moines. Chamberlin was on an August 11th flight.
Chamberlin says he has never been involved in anything that was as well organized as the flight. “It was a 25-hour day for me, but I’ll tell ya, it was the best 25 hours of my life,” Chamberlin said. Chamberlin says these flights give the veterans something the didn’t get at the end of the war.
Chamberlin says: “I was one of those individuals like many of those veterans that came out of World War Two, that came home. We went back to work, we got married and we went to college and nothing else much happened. And some of us sort of felt like nobody really cared, but on August 11th we found out that wasn’t really true. Sixty-five years later, people still care.” Veteran Leo Cleeton of Des Moines is set to go on the October Honor Flight.
He says he didn’t get too excited about the flight when he first heard about it, but he had two high school friends who have reinstated their friendship through the mail because of the Honor Flight. Cleeton says he learned that one of his friends went on the flight and then learned he had cancer and not long to live. The man was glad he had the chance to go on the flight, and now Cleeton is excited about going.
Cleeton says if the trip leads to nothing more than a renewal of friendships among servicemen, then “that’s a great thing.” Find out more about the honor flights on the Central Iowa Honor Flight website .