ESCANABA - The third U.P. Honor Flight will be taking off Thursday from the Delta County Airport. The flight takes World War II veterans from across the Upper Peninsula to Washington, D.C., to visit the memorial erected in their honor.
Organizers are asking the public to come to the airport Thursday night to welcome the veterans home.
Prior to the flight, the veterans will meet at the Peninsula Bay Inn for a meet and greet at 5 p.m. Wednesday night. The event will include a dinner.
Veterans will arrive at Delta County Airport Thursday morning at 5 a.m. The flight will depart at 6:30 a.m., and veterans will touchdown in D.C. around 8:30 a.m.
The veterans taking this Honor Flight range in age from 84 to 100 years old. "The 84-year-old told us that he enlisted on his 17th birthday," said Barb VanRooy, coordinator for the U.P. Honor Flight program.
Guardians are assigned to each veteran to take care of them while they are on the trip.
"One interesting thing is the youngest person on this flight is the guardian for the oldest person on this flight," said VanRooy.
For the first time brothers will be taking the Honor Flight together.
"We have two sets of brothers," said VanRooy.
The flight will also include five women, including the first woman in the U.P. to enlist during World War II, and the first female pilot in the U.P.
A Welcome Home ceremony, which starts at the Delta County Airport at 8 p.m., will include live music from the Barbershoppers and German Band.
The veterans will touchdown at the airport around 9:30 p.m. Members of the community and an honor guard will welcome them back with cheering and flags. "The veterans walk through the honor guard when they get off the plane," said VanRooy.
The majority of veterans taking the Honor Flight are from Delta County and the Marquette area.
"There's probably another 60 waiting, so we will probably have another flight for spring," said VanRooy.