Stars and Stripes – Honor Flights to resume travel in August

Veterans and their guardians gather at the National WWII Memorial in Washington, DC on Wednesday, July 10, 2019 (Emma Swislow / Stars and Stripes)

WASHINGTON – The Honor Flight Network, which sends veterans to visit war memorials in Washington, DC, will restart flights in August after a 16-month suspension during the coronavirus pandemic.

Flights will resume on August 16, said Carol Harlow, communications manager for the Honor Flight Network.

“We are closely monitoring the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines and also the District of Columbia guidelines, ”Harlow said. “We wouldn’t do this if we weren’t sure we could do it safely. ”

The Honor Flight Network has 125 chapters that help send veterans from their communities to Washington to see the memorials of their wars. The representatives of the hubs met virtually on June 12 and decided to resume flights in August.

The network requires all veterans, guardians and volunteers to be vaccinated against the coronavirus or take a coronavirus test 72 hours before the flight departs, Harlow said. On the day of their flight, participants are required to complete a self-assessment form that asks if they have experienced symptoms of coronavirus in recent days.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States last year, the network canceled trips until April 2020 and then extended cancellations until June and then August. Eventually, the board that governs the network decided to end all travel until 2020 due to the lingering risks.

The Honor Flight Network was not willing to take any risks, not least because it serves a vulnerable population of veterans, the group said. Priority for thefts is often given to terminally ill and older veterans, many of whom live in nursing homes.

Typically, the network transports approximately 20,000 veterans to Washington each year. Once travel resumes, the group is expected to hit the milestone of 250,000 veteran trips in the 16 years since the inception of Honor Flight.

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