116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — The Eastern Iowa Honor Flight’s 45th veteran charter from Cedar Rapids to Washington, D.C., was canceled Tuesday after mechanical plane malfunctions.
The cancellation, announced early Tuesday, came after a delay of at least three hours would have disrupted the Honor Flight experience too much for the 90 veterans on board. The cancellation is only the second time a flight has been grounded in the Eastern Iowa Honor Flight’s history.
Honor Flights typically leave early in the morning and return late in the evening for an itinerary packed full of sightseeing, ceremonies and honors for veterans around Washington monuments. A delay of at least three hours would have forced the elimination of several monument visits and the shortening of others.
“An abbreviated itinerary is not the experience our veterans deserve,” said Eastern Iowa Honor Flight president Jason Brandon. “Our board made the difficult decision to cancel today’s trip to Washington, D.C., to ensure that these 90 veterans share in the same full experience as the veterans on the 44 flights that have made the trip before them.”
The cancellation also impacts the Welcome Home celebration at The Eastern Iowa Airport Tuesday evening, where hundreds line the hallways of the terminal exit to shower veterans with the fanfare many didn’t receive on their first homecoming from the service.
Organizers hope to find a new date for the flight within two weeks, according to Dick Bell, board president. Flights are typically coordinated on a rolling basis several months in advance. Tuesday’s flight would have been the fourth Eastern Iowa Honor Flight this year.
All veterans and accompanying guardians will be contacted when the flight has been rescheduled. Those who cannot make the rescheduled date will be invited to attend the first Honor Flight next spring.
Veterans for the Eastern Iowa organization are accepted from Benton, Iowa, Jasper, Jones, Johnson, Linn, Marshall, South Tama, Poweshiek and Washington counties. Though the organization strives to accommodate every veteran who applies, first priorities are given to World War II veterans, Korean War veterans and those with catastrophic illnesses. Veterans in all branches of the military are encouraged to apply, even if they did not serve in combat.
The 45th flight is sponsored by Wild Hogs Saloon & Eatery. To learn more about how to support the entirely volunteer-run organization, visit eihonorflight.org.
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