Public invited to honor veterans

For the Troy Daily News

DAYTON — No, it isn’t World War II, Korea or Vietnam all over again. If you want to experience one of the most patriotic events of your life, come to the Dayton International Airport by 9:45 p.m. to welcome home and cheer for 100 veterans who fought for freedom.

The next Honor Flight Dayton will take place on Saturday, April 2, 2016.

“The Dayton International Airport is proud to be the host Airport and work with Honor Flight of Dayton in this great patriotic event to honor our veterans,” Director of Aviation for the City of Dayton Terrence G. Slaybaugh said.

The veterans arrive at 3:30 a.m. to prepare to board an aircraft at 6 a.m. They then fly to Washington DC to visit the WWII Memorial, Korean Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, USMC War Memorial, USAF Memorial, Arlington Cemetery, the Changing of the Guard at the Tombs of the Unknown Soldiers and other sites. It is an exciting day for them and this free once-in-a-lifetime tour is a “thank you” for the service they rendered and the freedoms they secured for all of us, when they served in the U.S. military so many decades ago.

Upon arrival back at the Dayton Airport around 10:30 p.m., the veterans may think their day is over. But as they deplane, a military guard of about 200 United States Air Force personnel welcome the veterans and form a symbolic Honor March to accompany the veterans from the arrival gate to the Honor Corridor for their final special welcome.

The Honor Corridor is lined by the Color Guards of the United States Air Force, Air Force Junior ROTC, and the Miami Valley Young Marines. The entire corridor is lined by additional military groups, Vietnam Veterans of America, Boy Scouts of America, Patriot Pin-Up Girls, Knights of Columbus, members of police and fire departments and of course, a large multitude of the veterans’ loved ones. It is always very patriotic, moving, and heart-warming.

Join the cheers of the waiting families, friends and grateful citizens. See the smiles and tears of the veterans as they pass through the Honor Corridor under the colorful U.S. and Military Service Flags. Join in the singing of the National Anthem and the cheering. All of these assure a singularly memorable event for the returning veterans and those who honor them. For many veterans it is the welcome home they never received and a small tribute for those who gave so much.

Honor Flight Dayton is open to all who wish to attend this event.

Please help to welcome home the returning veterans. Patriotic attire and signs are encouraged. Present and former military and public safety personnel are encouraged to come in uniform. It’s free, no charge and no reservations needed. Park-N-Go in Vandalia offers free parking to anyone who comes to the Honor Flight.

The Dayton International Airport supplies complementary water, beverages, fruits, and pastries to the outbound veterans as they make their way to their departure gate in the morning. Additional airport staff, police, and fire fighters are on hand to assist the group in their departure and return to the Dayton International Airport.

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