Honor Flight thrives, organizers plan for 2010

Posted by: Cody Holyoke - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) -- As people pause to remember the fallen, they breathe life into a program honoring the men and women still with us.

The River Region Honor Flight, now preparing for a fourth trip to Washington, D.C., is thriving.

It's all thanks to donations from the public and--sometimes--veterans returning the favor.

"I had one just recently who said, 'We want to contribute, and I told him, 'We don't take contributions from World War 2 veterans,' and his wife took the check and said, 'I'm not a veteran, and here's your check,'" explained Joe Mathis, the group's organizer.

The spirit is spreading.  More and more trips are popping up across the country and right here in Alabama.

"Mobile had a successful flight.  Dothan had a successful flight," Mathis said.

Support is growing by leaps and bounds--and leaving veterans with an overwhelming sense of gratitude.

"It makes me proud of Americans.  They appreciate what we've done for World War 2, the greatest generation in the world," said Manuel Cantu, who participated in the area's first Honor Flight.

It's a pride Americans graciously return to the men and women who died years ago and a heroic generation quickly fading away.

"A year and a half ago, there were four million [World War 2 veterans] left.  1,000 to 1,500 a day pass away.  It doesn't take long to do the numbers.  It's just been really a lot of fun, and we look forward to the next flight," Mathis said.

The next Honor Flight will take place next Spring. For more information, click here.

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