‘Honor Flights’ take veterans to D.C. war memorials
Some arrived in wheelchairs. Others were aided by walkers or canes. Some came on the arm of a guardian.
The veterans of World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam were boarding an Honor Flight on their way to Washington, D.C., to visit the monuments and memorials that honor their service and sacrifice.
Alaska Airlines has flown more than 1,500 veterans on 31 Honor Flights since 2012.
Both Alaska and Virgin America provide free travel for the veterans, and discounted travel for their guardians, in partnership with the Honor Flight Network.
“These brave men and women made great sacrifices for our country,” said Marilyn Romano, Alaska Airlines regional vice president in the state of Alaska. “It is an honor to help them fulfill a dream to see the memorials dedicated to all that have served.”
Honoring those who serve
Urban Rahoi, a 98-year-old WWII pilot, was among the veterans on an Honor Flight from Anchorage in October.
“He critiqued every one of our pilots’ landing and take-off skills,” said Colleen Wood, a friend and Alaska customer service agent who accompanied Rahoi to D.C.
“When Urban talks about his service, he is quick to point to others as more deserving of an Honor Flight – in his case, those who fought on the ground while he was in the air,” Wood said. “He’s very humble about his service.”
Rahoi enjoyed talking with fellow veterans during meals and on the buses. At the memorials, he had time to sit in quiet reflection.
“The respect shown by school children on field trips – spontaneously lining up to shake his hand and thank him for his service – was very touching, as was the patriotism shown by our employees and all the veteran organizations that came out to support them waving flags,” Wood said. “You can’t help but feel how much the sight of the American flag means to our veterans who fought for our freedom.”
Images from Honor Flights on Alaska Airlines