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Honor Flights continue despite government shutdown

Posted on Tuesday, October 8, 2013 at 3:30 pm

While Washington D.C. has hung out a “closed sign,” it’s full speed ahead for Central Missouri Honor Flight and activities surrounding two upcoming flights.

On Oct. 15, 70 mid-Missouri veterans will be taking that once-in-a-lifetime journey on Flight #25 to see the war memorials dedicated to their service.

Flight #26 is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 5, taking another round of approximately 70 local heroes who also have waited many months to be part of this one-day trip to our nation’s capital.

Mary Paulsell, president of Central Missouri Honor Flight, says barriers or no barriers, the mission continues. “We have made a pledge to these men and women who have fought for our freedoms.  Our delegation will honor our commitment and fly on October 15.”

Paulsell says she anticipates the Central Missouri Honor Flight veterans will walk past any barricades set up in front of the memorials and parks just as the Mississippi Honor Flight delegation recently did in order to see the war memorials.

“These are the men and women who took the beaches in the South Pacific and the cliffs at Normandy, then pushed back communism in Korea,” Paulsell adds. “I doubt that some fencing and police tape will keep them from entering this hallowed ground. These are their memorials, and they will see them.”

An Honor Flight includes a tour of the WWII, Korean War and Vietnam Memorials, Marine Corps and Air Force Memorials, and Arlington National Cemetery.  At the Tomb of the Unknowns, veterans are acknowledged during the Changing of the Guard.

“Politics play no part in the Honor Flight experience. It’s truly an opportunity to thank those who fought for our freedoms,” Paulsell states.

CMHF, an all-volunteer organization that began in 2009, has safely flown more than 1,400 veterans to the nation’s capital. Paulsell says there is still a waiting list of veterans to participate in future flights.

Applications can be downloaded from the CMHF website at and returned via mail.

The original goal of taking WWII veterans to Washington D.C. to see their recently completed memorial is still the guiding mission, but CMHF is now taking veterans of the Korean War as well.  As space permits, veterans are accompanied by Vietnam veterans as their guardians for the day.

The 110 participants (veterans, guardians, and medical staff) in the Oct. 15 mission will leave Courtyard Marriott at about 2 a.m. as usual, and will return Tuesday evening at about 10:45 p.m.

The public is invited to be at the hotel that evening no later than 9:45 p.m. to welcome home Flight #25.

Join us as these heroes come off the buses at the Courtyard Marriott, 3301 Lemone Industrial Drive, Columbia for their homecoming with the Stars and Stripes flying overhead!  Bring banners, wave flags, and cheer loudly. Let our veterans in Flight #25 know that no government shutdown will diminish their journey-of-a-lifetime.

Be there to give them the “welcome home” they so richly deserve!