Switzerland County veterans will be part of upcoming ‘Honor Flight’

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Several Switzerland County World War II veterans will be joining other World War II veterans from Ohio, Dearborn and Ripley counties on a trip to Washington, D.C. to see the World War II Memorial on Wednesday, June 25th.

They will be picked up locally and transported to Louisville, Kentucky by bus where they will board Southwest Airlines for the flight to Baltimore, Maryland and they will board another bus for the trip to Washington, D.C.

Their first stop will be the World War II Memorial and then they will be going to the Lincoln Memorial, Korean War Memorial and Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

They will then go to Arlington National Cemetery to watch the changing of the guard, and finally visit the Iwo Jima Memorial.

They will stop for a buffet supper on their way back to Baltimore before flying back to Louisville late that night.

This trip, for our local veterans, started when Bill McClure, a Rising Sun World War II Army Captain and father of Switzerland County High School teacher Mike McClure, contacted Bill Ahrens, who is the coordinator for the “Honor Flight” Program, and had him come to Rising Sun on Veterans Day 2007 and invite World War II veterans to sign up and take this trip.

“Honor Flight Tri-State” is a Cincinnati-based non profit organization created to honor America’s veterans for all their sacrifices. They fly our heroes to Washington, D.C. to visit and reflect at their memorial.

Top priority is given to the senior veterans – World War II survivors – along with other veterans who may be terminally ill.

The first Honor Flight flew in May, 2005, with six small planes flying 12 World War II veterans. With the list rapidly expanding, they transitioned to commercial airline carriers to accommodate the maximum number of veterans as possible.

Based on recent statistics, this country is losing World War II veterans at the rate of 1,200 per day. “Honor Flight” will continue to do whatever it takes to fulfill the dreams of our veterans and – most importantly – our World War II heroes travel absolutely free.

This trip has been made possible because of the cooperation between groups in Switzerland County such as the Community Foundation of Switzerland County and the American Legion and VFW posts; and the Rising Sun City Council, Mayor Bill Marksberry and the Rising Sun Regional Foundation and Chairman Ed Sullivan. While the World War II veterans travel free you are expected to seek funds to help pay for the expenses from other people and organizations.

If you would like to make a donation or if you are a World War II veteran and would like to take part in one of these flights then you can contact Bill McClure at 812-438-3282 or P.G. Gentrup at 812-438-3711. They will have the information and applications for future flights.

The flight leaving June 25th is already full as the allocation of 42 seats for veterans and “guardians” quickly filled.

Also if you would like to check out the website for “Honor Flight” then go on the Internet and type in “Honor Flight Tri-State.” Just be sure it’s the web page for the one out of Cincinnati. Their address is P.O. Box 531016, Cincinnati, Ohio, 45253.

The trip on June 25th will include people from Vevay, Patriot, Rising Sun, Aurora, Lawrenceburg, West Harrison and Milan.