AMBASSADORS: “Honor Flight Ambassadors” Winifred Dudley and Arles Cole, both of Tulsa, attended the send-off reception at the SpiritBank Event Center the night before the flight. Both are World War II veterans. Dudley served in the Women’s Army Air Corps and Cole in the U.S. Navy. Cole also is a Pearl Harbor Survivor.
The Oklahoma Honor Flights took 87 veterans to Washington, D.C. for a one-day trip to visit the World War II Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, the Vietnam Wall, the Lincoln Memorial, the Iwo Jima Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery and other sites on Sept. 10. Oklahoma Honor Flights is a hub of the national Honor Flight Network and this was its 18th flight from Oklahoma and seventh from Tulsa.
Veterans were assigned a volunteer guardians who paid their own way to aid the vets during the flight and tours of the memorials as needed. Guardians range from sponsors to family members. Of the 87 veterans who took the flight, 40 are veterans and 47 are Korean War veterans, making this the first flight to honor this number of veterans from the Korean War.
“The Oklahoma Honor Flight is an experience we give to veterans who, in most cases, are unable to visit Washington, D.C. and these memorials on their own,” says Eric Proctor, Flight Committee chairman and Oklahoma state representative from Tulsa. “Through each of our gracious sponsors, these veterans are able to visit our nation’s Capitol expense-free, enjoying the sights of memorials that so closely affect each veteran’s life and service.”
The sponsorship of the Oklahoma Honor Flights ranges from large sponsors, which help assist in covering the costs for veterans to attend, to the donation of wheelchairs to help veterans’ mobility while viewing all the memorials and the donation of food and snacks from several Tulsa businesses. This flight is made possible through multiple sponsors and caring volunteers. Since 2010, Oklahoma Honor Flights has flown 1,596 Oklahoma vets to Washington, D.C. for their Honor Flight.
“We are honored to be able to help provide this opportunity for the Greatest Generation – the servicemen who defended our freedom,” says Kristi Crum, president of Verizon Wireless in Oklahoma. “This is just one small way we can say thank you, and that will never be enough.”