by Andrew Crisp
A group of 24 veterans of World War II took flight this morning at the Boise Airport, headed to Washington, D.C.
This time, the aircraft was a Southwest Airlines passenger jet instead of a troop carrier. The men on board Idaho's World War II Veterans' Honor Flight were greeted by Maj. Gen. Gary Saylor of the Idaho Air National Guard, members of the Boise Police Department and Military Honor Guard to escort the veterans onto the plane.
The Honor Flight Program began in 2005, when six chartered planes from Springfield, Ohio, carried 12 World War II vets to national memorials in the nation's capital. According to the Honor Flight Network, the United States loses approximately 900 World War II veterans per day.
To honor their service, the inaugural flight of the Honor Flight of Idaho chapter takes those vets on a free ride to D.C., where they will tour the national WWII Memorial. According to Honor Flight of Idaho, many of Idaho's veterans have not had a chance to see the memorial.
In 2011, the Honor Flight Network transported more than 18,200 WWII veterans to D.C.