After several successful trips for hundreds of aging veterans from elsewhere in Iowa, now Dubuque plans to hold its first “Honor Flight” this spring. World War Two veterans from northeast Iowa will be flown, no charge, to Washington D.C. to see the memorials honoring their sacrifices and service. Organizer Dennis Avenarius explains what will happen on the trip to the nation’s capitol.
They’ll visit the World War Two Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery for the changing of the guard, the Vietnam Wall, the Korean War Memorial — however many memorials they can fit into the day. Avenarius serves as the hub director for the Dubuque Honor Flight and is a benefits counselor for the Dubuque County Veterans Affairs office. The flight is being planned for May 18th. It’s a one-day trip. He says the plane would leave Dubuque at 7:30 A.M. and return that same night around 9:30.
Avenarius says they’ll charter a 737 which will hold 162 people. They’ll take about 100 to 110 veterans and 30 to 40 support people. He says any World War Two veteran from the area is welcome to apply to go on the flight for free. He says interested veterans can contact their nearest American Legion or visit the website: “www.honorflightdbq.org” for an application.
While this will be the first Honor Flight out of Dubuque, there are 92 cities across the United States that have hubs. Ohio started the first flight in 2005, and since that time, around 50,000 veterans have taken Honor Flights to Washington D.C.
By Janelle Tucker, KMCH, Manchester