HonorAir Knoxville announced it has scheduled its second all expense paid flight on Wednesday, May 21, 2008 for East Tennessee World War II veterans to Washington D.C. to see the World War II Memorial.  

The organization’s goal is to fly as many East Tennessee World War II veterans as possible to see the Memorial built in their honor.  Priority is given to veterans from Knox, Anderson and Blount Counties.  According to Eddie Mannis, President of Prestige Cleaners and Chairman of HonorAir Knoxville, “There is a narrow window of opportunity to accomplish this task.”  Statistics from the Department of Veterans Affairs indicate that:

Sixteen million Americans served in World War II.

There are approximately a little more than 3 million veterans still alive. 

The country loses approximately 1,200 World War II veterans every day.   

On October 13, 2007 HonorAir Knoxville’s first flight took 111 veterans who had not seen the World War II Memorial to Washington.  The response to the first flight was so great that more veterans applied than could be accommodated.  Consequently, a spring flight is scheduled and a fall flight is also being planned. 

Richard Newby served on the USS Almaack in the South Pacific during the war and went on the October trip.  He said, “In my 82 years of living, I’ve been fortunate to have had many enjoyable experiences…but I’ve had no experience more inspiring than my Honor Flight to Washington D.C. to view the World War II Memorial.  We were thrilled to be met both in Knoxville and Washington D.C. by crowds of cheering folks, old and young who assured us that sacrifices my generation made 60 years ago were remembered and deeply appreciated.”

This one-day trip via a US Airways chartered flight is provided at no cost to the veterans.  It includes: roundtrip flight from Knoxville to Washington D.C. meals and snacks; a chartered bus tour of the World War II Memorial, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Marine, Navy, Air Force, Vietnam and Korean War Memorials; and memorabilia such as a commemorative book and DVD with highlights of the trip.

Mannis said, “The trip costs approximately $500 per veteran so we need the financial support of the community to make these flights a reality. All donations are tax deductible and no donation dollars are applied to administrative expenses. They are paid by Prestige Cleaners so donors can be assured that every dollar they contribute is applied directly to the cost of the trip.  We hope the community will reach out to help us honor “the greatest generation” who so willingly sacrificed for their country.”

Veterans interested in going on future flights should call 470-4291.  A packet of information will be mailed to interested veterans.

If someone would like to donate in-kind services they should contact Eddie Mannis at 938-7701.

The HonorAir program was established by Jeff Miller in Hendersonville, N.C.  It grew out of a program called HonorFlight founded by Earl Morse in Central Ohio.  So far over 5000 veterans have been transported to Washington D.C. from l9 different states..

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