Villages Honor Flight to fly 1,000th veteran

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The final flight for Villages Honor Flight in 2017 will depart Oct. 18 taking 70 area veterans to Washington D.C.  The organization will fly its 1,000th veteran on this flight since the first flight in May 2012.  “This will also be our first charter flight, departing from Orlando.  Previous flights used scheduled Southwest Airlines flights from Orlando.  While in Washington, the veterans will visit Arlington National Cemetery and various war and service memorials,” said John Peters of Honor Flight.

This flight, the organization’s 37th, includes 10 World War II veterans, 49 Korean War veterans,  and six Vietnam veterans, plus three 1940s veterans who served after WWII and two 1950s veterans who served after Korea.

The flight begins with an early morning send-off at the Lady Lake American Legion Post on Rolling Acres Road.  The day-long trip concludes with a “Welcome Home” celebration at the American Legion Post between 9:30 and 10 p.m., depending on arrival time at Orlando International Airport.

The public is invited to participate in the Welcome Home celebration and is encouraged to bring a lawn chair and an American Flag.  Entertainment for the crowd begins at 8:30 p.m. including the Village Cheerleaders, Village Twirlers, Clown Alley 179, and Ralph DiNome and his Flashback band.

Villages Honor Flight serves veterans from the Central Florida counties of Citrus, Hernando, Lake, Marion and Sumter. Each veteran has a volunteer guardian to assist him/her. The trip is free for veterans, guardians and staff pay their own way.