On behalf of our team, we wish you and your family a very happy Thanksgiving!  We hope you’re able to gather this year and enjoy some delicious food.

In the spirit of the season, I wanted to share some information about one of my favorite local organizations, Honor Flight.  Honor Flight coordinates free trips to Washington, D.C. for American war veterans so they can visit the war memorials and monuments in their honor.  Typically, the big trip takes place every November, but unfortunately, the COVID pandemic prevented them from traveling last year.  Luckily, Honor Flight was able to take a group to Washington, D.C. just last week, and will be taking veterans on a special Pearl Harbor trip in December.

My family and I have participated in Honor Flight before as Guardians, which means we served as volunteers on a trip to Washington, D.C. and ensured that all participating veterans were taken care of and had a great time.  It is truly an unforgettable, moving experience; my daughter, Kayla, wrote about our 2018 trip hereBe forewarned that it is an emotional read!

Kayla bonded with a veteran named Earnest Bugg, pictured here at the Washington Monument.

You can also visit the Gold Star tree outside of Bistro Napa in the Atlantis Casino Resort and Spa until January 2022.  The Gold Star tree displays pictures of local military members who have been killed in combat.  It’s a heartbreaking reminder of how much those in the military sacrifice for the rest of us, and the tree gives the community a place to visit and reflect on this during the holiday season.

Last year, the tree included a photo of Second Lieutenant Lowell S. Twedt, a WWII pilot whose plane was shot down in Italy.  His remains were finally recovered, identified, and returned to his family in 2019.  It’s a remarkable story  (which you can read more about in our article from last year) and the tree ensures that people like Lowell are never forgotten.

Honor Flight covers all of the travel costs for the veterans, and they accept donations year-round. You can also get involved by:

  • Becoming a Guardian and accompanying veterans on a trip to D.C. for the journey of a lifetime
  • Donating to Honor Flight ($1,000 sponsors a vet’s entire trip)
  • Volunteering your time to Honor Flight, without the travel
  • Welcoming our vets at the airport  (This is a REALLY fun and rewarding way to support them.  There’s lots of fanfare, tears, and celebration!)

    The Gold Star Tree displays 61 photos of fallen soldiers.