Eastern Iowa Vets Prepare for Honor Flight

By Mark Geary, Reporter

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By Daren Sukhram

CEDAR RAPIDS – About seventy-five eastern Iowa World War II veterans will spend the day at the nation's capital today.

Veterans were scheduled to fly out of the Quad City International Airport around 7:00 a.m on an “Honor Flight.” Honor Flight is an organization that allows World War II veterans to fly to Washington, D.C. for the day to see the memorial dedicated to their service.

Bob Arnold, 87, served in the Navy from 1942-1946 and can’t wait to explore the monument.

"I'm just like a big kid…I’m really tickled about it,” he said. “It’s a chance to relive the old times and it kind of brings closure.”

A combination of companies and local donors covered all expenses. Vets will tour at least one half-dozen monuments during their one-day trip to and from the capital.

"I think it's really nice of the people and companies that donated. I don't know how we're going to get everything done in one day, but I'm sure we will,” Navy veteran Richard Norton, 83, said.

Every veteran will have a guardian to help throughout the day. Ray Lehman's son, Bob, will accompany him.

"I asked him if he wanted to do it and he said he wouldn't miss it for the world,” Lehman, 83, said.

Lehman has fond memories of his time in the army. He enlisted when he was only 18-years-old. He feels humbled to have the chance to travel with his son to see the memorial.

"I think it's the greatest thing that's ever happened to me as far as the service is concerned,” Lehman said.

If all goes as planned, the Honor Flight will allow the greatest generation to make new memories and perhaps close a chapter in their lives that's remained open and unfinished for the past sixty years.
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