It’s going to be a busy start to the week for a couple of groups of veterans in eastern Iowa. The Honor Flight of Greater Dubuque plans back-to-back flights to Washington, D.C. Monday and Tuesday for World War Two and Korean War Veterans. Perry Mason is the committee chair for the flights that will include some 200 people.
“The night before each flight we have a dinner where all the veterans and guardians get together and meet each other. We have a little program where we explain what is going to go on,” Mason says. The next morning they meet at five for a security screening, and then bus out to the airport. This will be the fifth and sixth flight for the Dubuque operation.
“Last year was the first time that we took Korean War Vets, we’re what I was told, one of the first hubs in the country to take Korean War Vets. The honor flight was set up to take World War Two vets out to see their memorial,” Mason explains. “For us as it turned out, we got all the World War Two veterans that we had on our list on the two flights and then we filled in with Korean War vets. And that’s basically what we are doing again this year.”
The tour of the memorials in Washington lasts all day and the veterans return in the evening. Mason has been on one of the flights.
He says he was on the committee when it started three-and-a-half years ago and avoided going on a trip until others told him he should go.
“I have to tell you, it is a life-changing experience to be able to sit with these heroes and hear their stories that a lot of times they are not willing to share, but they open up,” Mason says. The committee will take donations to help fund the flights.
He says you can make a donation by sending a check to Honor Flight of Greater Dubuque at P.O. Box 659, Dubuque, Iowa. Some 600 veterans will have participated in the Dubuque honor flights when the flights are completed Monday and Tuesday.