Sixteen million Americans served in this nation's military forces during the most horrific war in history - World War II. The nation's official memorial paying tribute to their sacrifices was a long time coming. It finally was opened to the public on April 29, 2004, in Washington, D.C. Sadly, many of the veterans who proudly wore their country's uniforms and survived those long-ago battles did not live to see this splendid tribute to their service completed.
The Honor Flight program made it possible for many aging World War II veterans - including many from our area - to visit the memorial and other sights in our nation's capital.
Locally, Ron Newsum heads a committee that organized and carried out five Brushy Creek Area Honor Flights. Through these flights, veterans from Calhoun, Greene, Hamilton, Humboldt, Pocahontas, Webster and Wright counties were afforded the opportunity to journey to the memorial between in 2010 and 2011.
That program has continued with flights for Korean War veterans and any remaining World War II veterans who are able to participate. One took place in May. A second occurs today.
The veterans fly for free on these inspiring journeys thanks to the funds raised by the local Honor Flight Committee.
The Messenger applauds this effort and strongly supports more flights if there are veterans in our area who have not made this journey and wish to do so. Making certain that every eligible veteran who wishes to participate has the chance is an important goal. That these veterans are being honored in this way for their service to our nation should be a source of pride to us all. Their sacrifices so long ago helped make the liberty we enjoy in the 21st century possible.