ESCANABA, Mich. (WZMQ) – On May 3, the Upper Peninsula Honor Flight is taking a group of veterans to our nation’s capital.
Tuesday evening, organizers hosted a banquet for the 76 veterans who will be on board. The group includes 75 Vietnam veterans, one Korean War veteran, and one female veteran.
Members of each branch of the military were honored at the banquet. One table was left empty for prisoners of war and veterans missing in action.
The Honor Flight takes veterans to Washington, D.C. to see monuments built in their honor. Upper Peninsula Honor Flight president Scott Knauf says it is an incredible experience for vets and their loved ones.
“It is a chance for veterans to go together and they start talking,” said Knauf. “They start talking like they haven’t talked to their family members in the past. It’s not a family vacation; it’s a trip of therapy. That’s what a lot of people don’t understand about Honor Flight, but that’s what it’s all about.”
Army veteran James Edward Manderfield says while seeing the monuments can bring back painful memories, it’s worth it to find comfort and healing with his fellow service members.
“I’ve been to Washington a couple times to see the wall and I know it’s an emotional experience, but I’m looking forward to it,” Manderfield said. “Any chance at growing and healing, I follow up on it. The more I talk to people here, the happier I get, the more comfortable I get.”
The Upper Peninsula Honor Flight departs the Delta County Airport at 6:30 a.m. The veterans will return that evening around 9:30.