Visiting Battlefields and WWII Memorial Brings Closure to Elderly Vets

Visiting Battlefields and WWII Memorial Brings Closure to Elderly Vets

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The Greatest Generations Foundation, established in 2004, has so far helped more than 100 World War II veterans return to Europe to battle sites that have haunted their dreams. The purpose is to provide psychological peace to many veterans like Stan Tuhoski who, after revisiting Germany, believes he has finally found closure from his wartime nightmare.

Tim Davis, an Australian, founded the program having been inspired by his grandfather who fought alongside U.S. forces in the Pacific…

The foundation has a waiting list of 11,000 veterans and additionally aims to expand its trips to Vietnam and Korea. The Greatest Generations Foundation is a non-profit run out of Denver. Read the Reuters story of Stan Tuhoski and his return to the scene where he and others fought in the famous Battle of the Bulge.

Honor Flight

The World War II Memorial, dedicated in Washington, D.C., in 2004, provides another opportunity for elderly veterans to heal long-held emotional scars through pilgrimage to a site. It isn’t always financially possible for them to make the travel arrangements to the memorial, which is why the Honor Flight program was created. Honor Flight began with a cadre of 11 private pilots in 2004, who volunteered to fly veterans to the memorial for free and chaperone them to the city’s monument. The appreciation of both the veterans and the pilots was overwhelming and set the course for the program to expand. (See the video clip portraying this emotion filmed at the memorial’s dedication, when 150,000 vets gathered to receive thanks from their nation — GNN story)

In 2006, commercial flights became the mode of transport for Honor Flight due to the number of veterans on the waiting list growing by hundreds. At year’s end, nationwide, 891 WWII Veterans realized their dream of visiting their war memorial. Flights are fully funded by donations and are free to the veterans.

Because this generation of soldiers are aging and dying at the rate of 1,200 of them per day (some say 1,500), the Honor Flight board established an aggressive goal for 2007 — to transport 5000 veterans with the focus on veterans with terminal illnesses.

The Honor Flight program was founded in Springfield, Ohio, by Earl Morse, who presently serves as president, but the program has sprung up in other states. Currently Honor Flights are run out of Hendersonville, N.C.; Detroit, Mich.; Fargo, N.D.; Northwest Ga.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Huntsville, Ala.; Tarboro, N.C.; Norwich, Conn. and Ann Arbor, Mich.

Like the Greatest Generations Foundation, Honor Flight will in the future widen its scope to include veterans from any war. To help fly these men and women to D.C., you can make a PayPal donation online, or contact Honor Flight at (937) 521-2400, or email, [email protected], or snail mail your check to:
Honor Flight, Inc.
300 East Auburn Ave.
Springfield, OH 45505-4703