To the editor,

The 39th Never Forgotten Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., departed on May 2, 2022, to tour memorials built in their honor.

The board of directors and many wonderful volunteers resumed (after COVID) providing their top-notch services and delivered a one-day adventure of a truly Never Forgotten Honor Flight. For instance, on the flight, each veteran received a special personalized "mail call" envelope full of messages from back home. A box of special gifts was also received.

Serious money and time donations made it possible for veterans to travel at no cost. The night before, a huge banquet with entertainment was held. Because the day starts early and ends late that same day, two nights' hotel accommodations and meals were included. These blessings made it all the more memorable.

One month earlier, 97 veterans were notified it was their turn. Tom Benishek of Antigo was included. This has truly been a family highlight, and stories will last for years. We watched the Channel 9 coverage every evening the following days. Tom also left a memorial at the Vietnam Wall in honor of his brother, Fred, killed in action, 1969.

On Monday, May 2, veterans and spouses left Wausau Hilton Garden Inn at 4:30 a.m. and traveled in three buses to Mosinee Central Airport (CWA). Spouses said goodbye and gathered in an upper viewing area. Vets checked in, boarded their jet and departed at 7:30 a.m. They were honorably welcomed back at 10:30 p.m. to CWA by a huge crowd. Then, numerous motorcycle riders escorted our buses back to the hotel, with lights blinking to lead the way.

In D.C., they traveled in three coach buses to view the memorials, including the Korean War, Vietnam Wall, World War II, Lincoln, FDR, Navy, Air Force, Iwo Jima, the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial and the White House. At Arlington National Cemetery, they witnessed the Changing of the Guard of the Unknown Soldier (which happens 24/7/365).

Veterans interested in this honorable experience need to apply in advance:

Some interesting facts given to us: Honor Flights started April 27, 2010. Including this flight, 3,671 veterans have attended. Of those, 1,045 were of World War II, 1,220 were of Korean War, 1,406 from Vietnam era, a total of 2,215 guardians flew along. There were 75 sets of brothers, 11 husbands with wives (because their wives were military) and 51 were women veterans.

Tom encourages non-veterans to take time and travel to D.C., also. Show respect, be proud of our great American country and teach our children how we got to where we are today.

Tom Benishek


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