Vets prepare for Honor FlightLUVERNE — World War II veterans will depart today on the second Southwest Minnesota Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., where they will view the World War II Memorial and other monuments honoring members of the armed services.
LUVERNE — World War II veterans will depart today on the second Southwest Minnesota Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., where they will view the World War II Memorial and other monuments honoring members of the armed services.
“The World War II Memorial is number one,” said Paul Kirsh of Milroy, who will be on the flight today. “A lot of the other (monuments) I’ve already seen.”
Kirsh served in the U.S. Navy and was a teletype operator in Honolulu, helping send messages out to all ships and stations in the Pacific Ocean just after the war in 1946 and 1947. He is one of the 162 veterans who will be on today’s flight to Washington.
At the Honor Flight Banquet Thursday in Luverne, the veterans and guardians on the trip learned about how to pack the small overnight carry-on bag that will be their only luggage.
They were told that less was better in general, and that jackets and most toiletries would be provided for them, along with the carry-on bags. The veterans will bring photographic identification and any medical supplies they require for the two-day overnight trip.
Medical personnel, including doctors, nurses and emergency medical technicians, will go on the flight, and 50 wheelchairs will be available for veterans who need them, or who simply get too tired to walk.
The Honor Flight buses will depart Luverne today at 5 a.m. for the airport in Sioux Falls, S.D., with the plane departing at 7:30 a.m. and arriving at Dulles Airport at 11:15 a.m.
The normal itinerary of the trip has been changed due to a large AFL-CIO rally, so the veterans will see the World War II Memorial before they see any other Washington sights. Then they will proceed to the Lincoln Memorial, the Korean War Memorial and the Vietnam Memorial, and from there they’ll go to a banquet at their hotel.
The veterans’ bus departs the hotel the following morning at 7:30 a.m. for a driving tour of the White House, Navy Memorial and Capitol, after which the veterans will spend time at the FDR Memorial, the Marine Corps Memorial and the Air Force Memorial. Then the group will go to Arlington National Cemetery, where they will see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the changing of the guard. The veterans will also spend about two hours at the National Air and Space Museum before they return to the airport.
The group is scheduled to arrive in Luverne at 11:15 p.m. Saturday.
“I’ve been to Washington, D.C., before, but I didn’t have enough time” to see all the sights, said Howard Schmidtke of St. James, one of the veterans who will be on the plane to Washington today.
Schmidtke also hoped to see a half-track, a vehicle a bit like a tank, but with wheels in the front. Schmidtke served in the U.S. Army and was driven to the front lines in half-tracks.