River Region Honor Flight in full swing for next take-off

Lonnie Boyett talks about the moment he saw the World War II memorial in Washington D.C.
Lonnie Boyett talks about the moment he saw the World War II memorial in Washington D.C.

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

PRATTVILLE, AL (WSFA) - Lonnie Boyett remembers the first time he saw the World War II memorial in Washington D.C.

"It was really, really thrilling," he says.
As a young soldier, Boyett was stationed in Germany during the war...from 1942 until '45.  He served under General George Patton, delivering war orders to fellow servicemen.
He thought he had seen it all.

"We had orders to shoot anything after 12:00...point blank," he adds.

Until...he saw the memorial. 
"It was really something," says Boyett.
Boyett was a member of the first River Region Honor Flight.
Now, he's one of 265 veterans from the area to see the pictures in person.  And many others hope they get the chance.
"Each time we fly we seem to get more applications," says River Region Co-Chair, Joe Mathis.
So far, three groups have made the sentimental journey.
Organizers say donations and WSFA 12 News stories are the reason the program got off the ground.

"The applications really poured in, and as of last week we still had 185 applications that are active that we'll be picking from for the spring flight," adds Mathis.

He says honor flight isn't going anywhere...except to Washington.

"We're determined to fly as long as we have the financial resources needed to fly the planes and the applications," adds Mathis.

But even he will tell you, time is ticking for the aging veterans.

"When we started honor flight there were about four million left and today it's just a little over 2.5 million."

It's another reason Boyett's thankful a seat was saved for him - in appreciation for a much greater accomplishment.

"My generation. Our generation, we saved the world."

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