Friday, April 10, 2009

Donations needed for Salina Honor Flights

A round of Honor Flights for Kansas World War II Veterans is scheduled for this summer, but the organization needs $170,000 to make the trips a reality.

"It's like a dream, like a dream,” said Veteran Roy Purcell.

Purcell fills out his application to go on one of the four honor flights leaving from Salina in June. The flights bring WWII vets free of charge to see their war memorial in D.C.

"Since I was in World War II, I would like to see the memorial and the changing of the guard at Arlington National Cemetery,” Purcell said.

The trip lasts three days, bringing Kansas veterans to nine memorials and two Smithsonian museums. They’re accompanied by family members and fellow soldiers.

“To be with other veterans,” Purcell said. “We were kind of all in the same boat. It was a big challenge and we got the job done."

Dan Curtis, Central Prairie Honor Flight coordinator, spoke with Salina veterans at the VFW, informing them about the special trip.

"We need the general public to realize the sacrifices that these heroes have made and let’s do them homage now while they're still here on the earth with us,” he said.

Curtis says Kansas WWII Veterans have been forgotten and its’ time they get to see the memorial dedicated to them.

"Most of them remember the people beside them that didn't make it back and when they go to this memorial 64 years later, they have a chance to remember the sacrifice they made,” he said.

"There wasn't too much fanfare when we came back from World War II,” said WWII Veteran Michael Martin. “I just came home; my folks met me at the train, and went back to work."

Honor Flight changes that, showing veterans how grateful we are for their service.

If you would like to pay the way for veterans, Honor Flight donations are being accepted in care of Central Prairie, RCND Council, 1817 16th St., Great Bend, KS 67530.