Veterans will fly from the ILM to Washington D.C. in this year’s Honor Flight

"This is a really special weekend for us," Smith explains.
Published: Apr. 25, 2022 at 10:56 AM EDT|Updated: Apr. 29, 2022 at 6:46 AM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Honor Flight of the Cape Fear Area (HFCFA) is making final preparations for the first Honor Flight to depart from ILM in 12 years on Saturday, April 30. We spoke with HFCFA founder and president Ruth Smith on their excitement to finally launch this flight.

“Day one, I think when we met in November of 2019 believe it or not was our first meeting. I said ‘We are gonna build an organization that flies once a year and doesn’t try to rush it. Let’s get it done right,’” Smith said.

The flight brings World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War era veterans to Washington D.C. memorials. Whether or not the guests have seen the monuments before, few have visited the monuments alongside other veterans. After the flight, the group returns home to celebrate with the community.

HFCFA’s inaugural flight will carry 75 veterans and their volunteer guardians.

Since the national Honor Flight Network opened up the program to those that served after WWII, this 2022 trip is also the first time local Korean and Vietnam War veterans have been invited to participate. Each flight costs $100,000 and is funded by donations at no cost the veterans.

HFCFA also encourages people to welcome the veterans home at around 7:30 p.m. at the Wilmington ILM airport.

“Come welcome home our heroes from their day in our nation’s capitol visiting the memorials and monuments built in their honor. Arrive at 7:30 to be in place before the flight returns in the 8 o’clock hour. Let’s line the sidewalks outside the terminal and along Airport Blvd. Bring signs and flags,” writes the HFCFA on the Welcome Home Celebration event page.

Based in Wilmington, NC, Honor Flight of the Cape Fear Area (HFCFA) is a 501(c)3 recognized by the State of North Carolina as a nonprofit.

Military veterans prepare for their first Honor Flight this weekend

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