ST. GEORGE — Twenty-five military veterans who served in various conflicts, including World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, are departing Thursday from St. George en route to Washington, D.C., for the next three-day Utah Honor Flight trip. They will join 25 other veterans from the Wasatch Front on their tour of the nation’s capital.
On Saturday, the St. George group returns to Utah for a welcome-home ceremony at approximately 9:30 p.m. at the Dixie Center St. George on 1835 Convention Center Drive. Everyone is invited to this free event to show gratitude and support. Many of the local veteran service organizations are expected to attend. (see Ed. Note)
The veterans on the trip comprise a wide range of military service, including Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. Most of the veteran participants served during the Vietnam era. They will be escorted by guardians, who are typically sons or daughters, grandchildren or volunteers of the program.
“An experience like this can further the bond felt between family members,” said Utah Honor Flight chairman Mike Turner in a media release. “We must honor our Utah veterans – now – before it is too late.”
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 National Archives will be one of the focal points, as the veterans will tour the “Remembering Vietnam” exhibit.
According to the National Archives, the exhibition “presents both iconic and recently discovered National Archives records related to 12 critical episodes in the Vietnam War. They trace the policies and decisions made by the architects of the conflict and help untangle why the United States became involved in Vietnam, why it went on so long, and why it was so divisive for American society.”
“Our program has grown so much since we took our initial trip in 2013,” Turner said. “At the time we had so many World War II veterans we wanted to honor — and the clock was ticking. Over time, we have taken more than 1,500 of our older veterans which gives us the opportunity to honor our Vietnam veterans.”
The expenses for the veterans are funded solely through donations from individuals and companies. Those interested in contributing to Utah Honor Flight can call 435-272-0254 or send donations to
Utah Honor Flight
P.O. Box 42
Richfield, UT 84701
About Utah Honor Flight
Utah Honor Flight, which began in 2013, is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that takes veterans to Washington, D.C., to see their memorials at no cost to the veterans. The expenses for the veterans are funded solely through donations from individuals and companies. Veterans, guardians and interested volunteers may apply at the Utah Honor Flight website or on their Facebook page.
- What: Utah Honor Flight welcome-home ceremony.
- When: Saturday, Sept. 15, 9:30 p.m.
- Where: Dixie Center St. George, 1835 Convention Center Drive.
Ed. note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly listed the day of the welcome-home ceremony as Friday.