‘Honor Flights’ take veterans to D.C. war memorials

21 ‘Honor Flights’ take veterans to D.C. war memorials

Veterans return from Washington, D.C., to a welcome home ceremony at Sea-Tac Airport. Photo by Steve Mahler.

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

41 ‘Honor Flights’ take veterans to D.C. war memorials

Alaska Airlines employees honor the veterans before the flight departs. Photo by Pamela S. Eaton-Ford.

urban rahoi ‘Honor Flights’ take veterans to D.C. war memorials

Urban Rahoi, a 98-year-old WWII pilot, visits Washington, D.C., with Colleen Wood, a friend and Alaska Airlines customer service agent.

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

Related:

Honoring those who serve: Alaska Airlines unveils its newest livery

Alaska employee brings passengers to tears with moving tribute to a fallen soldier

8 Comments on “‘Honor Flights’ take veterans to D.C. war memorials

  1. Happy 242nd birthday to the United States Marine Corps founded on November 10, 1775 at Tunn Tavern in Philadelphia. Thanks to Alaska Airlines for honoring the true heros of this great country. Respectfully, Sgt. Joseph W. Evans, 1st Armored Amphibian Company, 11th Marines, 1st Marine Division, Vietnam, June 1968 to July 1969.

  2. This is so wonderful! Thanks for honoring our service people. I love your airline and the people who work there. Keep up the good work!

  3. I am 84 and can say that WW2 shaped my life and attitude. I commend AK Air for honoring those men and women who served. I had two aunts/cousins who were in Asia serving as RN’s during that war. And one who with her Army husband returned to Japan after the war was over, stationed there during the after events.

    Thank you for all you are doing.

    Diane Foss

  4. This is a wonderful commitment to our armed forces of all those wars! However it is extra special for those who fought in Vietnam and did not get the treatment or recognition they deserved when they arrived back home!! Thank You Alaska Airlines for including them on your flights!! Judy Hinton

    • Thank you, Judy for your thoughtful words. Today, when vets from Vietnam see each other, we shake hands and/or hug, and say to one another, “Welcome home!”

  5. I got to see the veterans from the state of Alaska transiting at PDX, it was a very powerful moment. They had an honor guard, bag pipes playing. Passengers who would normally be scurrying to and from simply stopped in their tracks and gave a round of applause and paid them the respect and honor they were due. Thank you Alaska for dedicating a plane to get them to D.C, it made me proud to be a gold member of an airline that still cares and to know you view this as an investment in making society even better place and paid it forward on a grand scale!!!!!

    • Thank you, Alaska Airlines, for honoring our WWII veterans. My father died six weeks prior to his name coming up for the Honor Flight. He was so proud to have served. I know that the Honor Flight organizers here in Alaska appreciate that sponsors like you allow them to get more and more WWII Veterans, their families, and Caregivers to DC and honor them. Keep up the great work!

  6. Alaska Airlines is a first class company. Excellent service, excellent leadership and employees that are proud to come to work everyday and give guests an exceptional experience.

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