SPRINGFIELD - Land of Lincoln Honor Flight is kicking off the 2024 flying season on May 14, 2024 with Mission #70.

Mission #70 will serve 94 Veterans including 15 Korean Era veterans 79 Vietnam era veterans from 54 Central Illinois home towns of Altamont, Bethalto, Bloomington, Brighton, Casey, Champaign, Chandlerville, Chestnut, Clinton, Columbia, Cropsey, Danville, Dawson, Decatur, Dow, Effingham, Elizabeth, Farmer City, Fisher, Grafton, Greenville, Gurnee, Hettick, Jacksonville, Jerseyville, Lincoln, Litchfield, Longview, Loves Park, Mahomet, Marion, Mason City, Mattoon, Monmouth, Mt Zion, Neoga, Newton, Normal, Petersburg, Pleasant Plains, Rantoul, Rochester, Roxana, Rushville, Secor, Shelbyville, Sherman, Sorento, Southern View, Springfield, Teutopolis, Thomasboro, Topeka and Tuscola as well as Cotter AR and McKinze TN. Our May 14th veterans represent all branches of the military as well as the Air National Guard and the Army National Guard.

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These 94 veterans and their Guardians will report May 14th at the Abraham Lincoln Capitol Airport at 4:00 AM to travel to Washington DC on a chartered Sun Country 737 aircraft to visit the World War II, Korean and Vietnam War memorials, as well as Arlington National Cemetery Tomb of the Unknowns, the Lincoln Memorial, the National Air & Space Museum in Chantilly, Virginia, the US Marine Corps Memorial and the US Air Force Memorial. This day of honor is provided at absolutely no cost to our veterans and is completely funded by donations from the general public.

Joan Bortolon, LLHF President, states: “We are excited to kick off our 16th year of operation by serving this distinguished group of American heroes.”

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These heroes return to Springfield airport at 9:30 PM on Tuesday. The general public, friends, family, and LLHF alumni veterans are encouraged to pack the airport to welcome home these heroes. Bortolon states: “The welcome home at the airport is very special to our veterans; it is the experience our veterans earned deserve and but never received.” Greeters are encouraged to arrive early and show appreciation for and support of these veterans who sacrificed so much for our country. Parking is free and volunteers will be in the parking area to assist guests to open spaces as well as the shuttle bus that will take them directly to the airport terminal door.

“We are looking forward to this 2024 flying season with additional flights scheduled for August 27 and October 15. We encourage any World War II, Korean Era or Vietnam Era veteran to apply now. This is your time to be honored.” Bortolon states. Any seriously impaired or terminally ill veteran will be given flight priority. Veteran and Guardian Applications may be obtained at www.LandofLincolnHonorFlight.org by clicking on “Applications” tab. LLHF also offers a “Flightless Honor Flight” program for those otherwise eligible veterans whose physical condition limits their ability to participate on an actual flight.

Land of Lincoln Honor Flight is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that receives no government funding. Over 5,600 Central Illinois veterans have been served on LLHF’s 69 flights. It is only able to honor veterans due to the generous donations, sponsorships, fundraising events, merchandise sales and supporting efforts of the many local businesses, individuals and organizations within our service area. Land of Lincoln Honor Flight is operated by all volunteers; it has no paid staff, no office and no utilities costs. Its overall administrative cost is approximately 2% so virtually every dollar raised supports flight costs for veterans.

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