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Saluting Our Veterans: Honor Flights Resume for 2024 Season

The Land of Lincoln Honor Flight kicked off the 2024 flying season on May 14th with Mission #70.

Mission #70 served 94 Veterans, including 15 Korean Era veterans and 79 Vietnam era veterans from 54 Central Illinois hometowns 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. The May 14th veterans represented all branches of the military as well as the Air National Guard and the Army National Guard.

These 94 veterans and their Guardians reported on 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 was provided at absolutely no cost to the veterans and was completely funded by donations from the general public.

Joan Bortolon, LLHF President, stated: "We were excited to kick off our 16th year of operation by serving this distinguished group of American heroes.” These heroes returned to Springfield airport at 9:30 PM on Tuesday. The general public, friends, family, and LLHF alumni veterans were encouraged to pack the airport to welcome home these heroes. Bortolon stated: "The welcome home at the airport is very special to our veterans; it is the experience our veterans earned and deserve but never received.” G

Officials are looking forward to this 2024 flying season with additional flights scheduled for August 27 and October 15. We encouraged any World War II, Korean Era, or Vietnam Era veteran to apply now. This was your time to be honored.” Bortolon stated. Any seriously impaired or terminally ill veteran was given flight priority. Veteran and Guardian Applications could be obtained at by clicking on the "Applications” tab. LLHF also offered a "Flightless Honor Flight” program for those otherwise eligible veterans whose physical condition limited their ability to participate on an actual flight.

Land of Lincoln Honor Flight is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that received no government funding. Over 5,600 Central Illinois veterans had been served on LLHF’s 69 flights. It was 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 its service area. Land of Lincoln Honor Flight was operated by all volunteers; it had no paid staff, no office, and no utilities costs. Its overall administrative cost was approximately 2% so virtually every dollar raised supported flight costs for veterans.


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