Some vets can travel to WWII monument in DC for free - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Some vets can travel to WWII monument in DC for free

Updated: Aug 19, 2011 09:41 AM EDT
The National World War II Memorial (©Rick Latoff/American Battle Monuments Commission) The National World War II Memorial (©Rick Latoff/American Battle Monuments Commission)
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By Elaine Zimmermann

Josephine: My father served in World War II and would like to see the monument in Washington, D.C. I heard there are programs that will pay to fly him with other veterans free of charge. Does he need to be terminally ill to qualify? Also he uses a walker. Can they assist him getting around? Does a family member need to accompany him?

Elaine: What you are referring to is the "Honor Flight Network" (HFN) program, honorflight.org. Veterans of World War II are flown free of charge to view the World War II memorial in Washington, D.C. All lodging, food and transportation are included. The program is supported by donations and no donations will be accepted from a veteran participant. Many donations come from fraternal organizations such as local chapters and posts of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Am Vets, Disabled American Veterans as well as various corporations.

Your father does not need to be terminally ill to qualify for this wonderful program. Veterans are flown on a "first-come, first-served basis." Within the applicants, top priority is currently given to World War II veterans and all other veterans with terminal illness. Second priority is given to Korean War veterans and then Vietnam War veterans.

All WWII Veterans require close observation from a traveling companion called a "Guardian." This is not a legal term, but a title. A WWII Veteran must have one next-generation guardian, willing to escort the veteran to DC. For a donation of $350, Honor Flight will provide the guardian with transportation, meals, lodging, etc. The guardian must be competent to attend to the physical needs of the veteran. If overnight stays are required, they will book a room with two double beds so the guardian can stay with the veteran. The guardian needs to complete a guardian application. Spouses of veterans cannot serve as guardians.

A more recent addition to this effort has been the donation of RV's to transport veterans and their spouses to the memorial.

In 2008 HFN took possession of a donated 28' motor home. Following a custom decal wrap, this incredibly thoughtful contribution is now being used as the "Flag Ship" of the newly launched Honor Flight RVC or Recreational Vehicle Convoy program. This new program offers an opportunity to visit the Memorial to those veterans who do not wish to fly. For able-bodied WWII veteran couples, it offers a chance to make a three day trip together visiting the memorials built in their honor and perhaps spend time with other couples making the trip at the same time.

HFN is asking for the continued support of the RV community to help expand this program. With more than 1,200 World War II veterans dying each day, many RV owners could make their final wish come true. "Such a visit to these incredible memorials is even more wonderful when accompanied by the heroes for whom these memorials were built," said Earl Morse, Honor Flight Founder.

Elaine Zimmermann is a personal finance expert who was written about everyday ways to save money on cars, homes, vacations and more. For information on investing in foreclosed real estate you can visit her website at www.AskElaineZ.com.

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