WEST DES MOINES, IA – Members of the public are invited to take part in send-off ceremonies saluting World War II veterans who will be traveling to Washington, DC on an Honor Flight next week.
Approximately 350 veterans will be boarding a plane to Washington in the early morning hours of Wednesday, November 4 for the day-long trip to view the World War II Memorial and other monuments. Central Iowa Honor Flight, a nonprofit organization affiliated with the national Honor Flight program, is coordinating the trip. Funding for the trip is being provided by Hy-Vee, which also sponsored central Iowa’s first Honor Flight in August.
Prior to their Wednesday departure, the Honor Flight veterans will be guests of honor at a banquet on Tuesday, November 3 at the Hy-Vee Conference Center in West Des Moines. A caravan of 11 buses will transport the veterans from the Airport Holiday Inn on Fleur Drive, where they are spending the night, to the Hy-Vee Conference Center for the 5 p.m. dinner. The caravan will be led by a Des Moines Police Department escort and members of the Patriot Guard Riders, a motorcycle group that participates in activities honoring the military and veterans.
Organizers invite members of public to line the caravan route on Tuesday afternoon to show support and appreciation for the veterans.
Laura Fulton, a regional officer with Hy-Vee who went on the first Honor Flight in August, said the World War II veterans on that trip were stunned by number of people who turned out to cheer and wave as the buses rolled past.
“There were crowds lining all the streets and the overpasses, with people waving flags or holding signs thanking the veterans for their service,” she said. “The veterans were so overwhelmed that there was absolute silence on the buses. Many of them had tears in their eyes. Afterward, they said that show of support meant as much to them as seeing the monuments in Washington.”
The public also is invited to Wednesday morning’s departure ceremonies at the Des Moines International Airport. Here are the details for those who would like to take part in Tuesday’s caravan salute or Wednesday morning’s departure ceremonies:
Tuesday, November 3rd
The caravan will leave the Airport Holiday Inn at approximately 4 p.m. and travel north on Fleur Drive to I-235. The caravan will exit at 50th Street, travel north on 50th Street, and then turn west on Westown Parkway to the Hy-Vee Conference Center at 5820 Westown Parkway. Members of the public are encouraged to line the streets and I-235 overpasses to cheer the caravan as it passes by.
Wednesday, November 4th
Veterans will begin boarding the Honor Flight plane at the Des Moines International Airport at approximately 5 a.m. for the 6:45 a.m. departure. Members of the public who would like to be on the tarmac for the departure are asked to enter the airport from Army Post Road at Gate 7 (south cargo ramp) prior to 5 a.m.
Hy-Vee, Inc. is an employee-owned corporation operating 227 retail stores in seven Midwestern states. For 2008 the company recorded total sales of $6.2 billion, ranking it among the top 30 supermarket chains and the top 50 private companies in the United States. Supermarket News, the authoritative voice of the food industry, honored the company with the 2008 Whole Health Enterprise Award for its leadership in providing services and programs that promote a healthy lifestyle.