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Honor Flight honors Alabama heroes

A bystander shakes the hand of Air Force veteran Addison Dozier as the Covington Region Honor Flight enters the terminal at Reagan National Airport. Photo by Allison Griffin

Though many of our veterans have seen the world as part of their service to the country, the national Honor Flight Network aims to take them only to Washington, D.C. But it’s a trip of a lifetime: A chance to visit and reflect on the memorials that were erected to honor them.

The Covington Region Honor Flight took a charter bus full of veterans and their appointed guardians to the nation’s capital in early October. The whirlwind 24-hour trip, which included a bus ride from Andalusia to Atlanta and a flight to D.C., included stops at the World War II, Women’s War, Air Force, Korea and Vietnam memorials, as well as the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

Veterans from many of our nation’s conflicts, including WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, were represented on the trip. Honor Flight regional hub staffers directed the group and provided wheelchairs and logistical support to the veterans, some of whom are in their 80s and 90s.

U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions made a stop on the charter bus to welcome the veterans to D.C. Later in the day, U.S. Rep. Martha Roby sent a cadre of her staffers to welcome the group to dinner at a Washington restaurant.

Unfortunately, the day was shrouded in wind and rain, with showers following the group throughout the day and making the memorial visits a challenge. But as one might expect from a group of veterans, there was little complaining. And the veterans were warmly received at every stop – travelers at the airport terminal applauded, cheered and shook the hands of the veterans as a French horn player serenaded the group with the songs of all the military branches.