Freedom Honor Flight to provide friendly skies for group of Coulee Region veterans May 7
LA CROSSE (WKBT) — More than 100 Coulee Region veterans are prepping for wheels up May 7 on Freedom Honor Flight’s 26th trip to see memorials built in their honor and other sights to Washington, D.C.
The flight will include 97 veterans from the Vietnam War era, nine from the Korean War generation and one who served during World War II veteran slated for the trip. The veterans fly for free, accompanied by volunteer guardians who pay their own ways.
The public is invited to attend the morning sendoff and the evening welcome home ceremonies at Colgan Air’s Hangar 4 at the La Crosse Regional Airport. Ample parking is available with shuttle service, provided for this flight by UPS employee volunteers.
Hangar doors will open at 5 a.m., and a brief ceremony will precede the American Airlines charter flight, scheduled for 6:55 a.m. The welcome home ceremony between 9 and 10 p.m. will feature a La Crosse Skyrockers fireworks display. The Westby High School Marching Band will perform — a highlight that is sure to delight Freedom Honor Flight participants from Westby. Hangar doors will open at 7 p.m.
The flight typically include the WWII Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery and other sites via luxury motor coaches.
Accompanying the veterans will be a physician and four paramedics from Gundersen Health System and a physician from Mayo Clinic Health System, all out of the La Crosse area. Both health systems are longtime supporters of Freedom Honor Flight, providing the paid services of the medical professionals at no charge to the organization, plus paying for their flights.
Many honor flight veterans are elderly and depend on the medical care to have a safe and comfortable experience.
Freedom Honor Flight in La Crosse is the first Wisconsin affiliate of the national network of Honor Flight organizations. The La Crosse hub serves 30 counties in western Wisconsin, southeast Minnesota and northern Iowa.
More information is available on the group’s website.
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