Utah Honor Flight veterans returning from Washington; public invited to welcome them home

ST. GEORGE – A dozen Southern Utah military veterans who served during World War II and the Korean War went to Washington D.C. on Thursday for the three-day Utah Honor Flight trip.

The St. George group is joining 38 veterans from the Wasatch Front, pushing the total number of veterans honored to more than 1,500 since Utah Honor Flight’s inception in October 2013.

Veterans are welcomed home from a Utah Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., St. George, Utah, Sept. 30, 2017 | File photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

“To take our 1,500th veteran to Washington D.C. says so much about the support we have received from Utahns – from both the business community and patriotic individuals,” Utah Honor Flight Chairman Mike Turner said.

“We have come a long way from our first trip, but our mission is unchanged. We want these veterans to feel appreciated and maybe even find some closure during their Utah Honor Flight experience.”

On Friday, Sen. Orrin Hatch welcomed the veterans to Washington and met the group at the World War II memorial. He personally greeted each veteran individually.

“I just love seeing these veterans. They’re my heroes, my inspiration. And they remind me of the importance of my job as their representative,” he said.

“We can never do enough to honor their service, and their sacrifices, but we can sure try.”

See video of Hatch welcoming veterans in media player above

The St. George group returns to Utah Saturday for a welcome-home ceremony at about 9 p.m. at the Dixie Convention Center, 1835 Convention Center Drive. Everyone is invited to the free event to show gratitude and support for these veterans. Many of the local veteran service organizations are expected to attend.

The Utah Honor Flight trip includes a lengthy stop at the National Mall, where the veterans will participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at the National World War II Memorial, followed by stops at the Korean War Veterans Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. There will also be excursions to visit other sites of interest, including the U.S. Navy Memorial, the Air Force Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery and Fort McHenry.

The veterans comprise a wide range of military service – Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps – including men who served in the Philippines during World War II and in the Chosin Reservoir in Korea. They are escorted by guardians,  typically sons or daughters, grandchildren or volunteers of the program.

“Often, a son or daughter who was guardian to their veteran parent will tell me that they heard several stories for the first time. An experience like this can further the bond felt between family members,” Turner said. “It is our objective to honor these great veterans now, before it is too late.”

Expenses for the veterans are funded solely through donations from individuals and companies. Those interested in contributing to Utah Honor Flight can send donations to Utah Honor Flight, P.O. Box 42, Richfield, UT 84701 or call 435-272-0254.

Event Details

  • What: Welcome-home ceremony for veterans returning from the Utah Honor Flight trip
  • When: June 16, 9 p.m.
  • Where: Dixie Convention Center, 1835 Convention Center Drive
  • Details: Free. For more information visit the Honor Flight website or its Facebook page.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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