South Plains Honor Flight set to take off Saturday morning, after being grounded for two years

Published: May. 18, 2022 at 9:35 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The Texas South Plains Honor Flight will head to Washington, D.C. on May 21 for the first time since 2019, with more than 80 veterans, to see the memorials built in tribute to the wars they fought and those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

“It’s exciting because of COVID, we haven’t had a flight since 2019,” Army veteran Paul Anderson, spokesperson for the TSPHF, said. “There is a lot of excitement about getting back to it. We regret the fact that we had people who were hoping to go on those other flights that are no longer with us. We hope that we’ll be able to continue on without interruption.”

There will be 84 veterans on the 2022 flight, mostly those who fought in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Veterans travel with all expenses paid, thanks to donations to the nonprofit organization.

“When Americans will stand up and fight and make sure that we do have the freedoms that we have, we owe it all to them,” Anderson said. “We are thankful for the memorials that are in DC.”

Over three days at those various memorials, the veterans will participate in wreath laying ceremonies, including one at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery.

“It brings back some memories,” Anderson said. “They may be sad memories but they’re helpful for us to just realize and open up about some of the things. Like one of the men that I was a guardian for, he was asked at the Vietnam Memorial, ‘Do you know any of these names?’ He said, ‘No, I was a helicopter pilot and all I dealt with was the body bags.’”

Among other stops on the trip will be a visit to the new National Museum of the United States Army. Anderson asks that the South Plains prays for the safety of these veterans as well as the 39 guardians and 17 staff members.

“Life is just so long,” Anderson said. “If we can honor these guys now, that’s the important thing.”

The community is invited to welcome the flight home as it is planned to arrive at the Lubbock Airport around 8:30 p.m. Monday evening. Visitors are encouraged to bring $2 in cash to the airport so they can efficiently exit the parking lot.

KCBD will travel with the South Plains Honor Flight again this year. Watch our coverage on air and online throughout the three days.

To donate to the Texas South Plains Honor Flight, click here.

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