It is an itinerary daunting enough for someone in their 20s or 30s. But yesterday morning, a heroic group of veterans from Iowa boarded a plane for Washington D.C. That group returned to Iowa the very same day. It was an amazing operation pulled off by a dedicated group of staff and volunteers, and I got to go along for the ride.

Our day began at the Eastern Iowa Airport. Our flight to our nation's capital left at 7:15 a.m. In case you're wondering how long it takes to fly to Washington D.C. from Cedar Rapids, it was one hour and 55 minutes. That's hauling! Because this was an honor flight there were no security checks. No standing in the TSA line. Present your ID and you could board the plane. Upon arriving at Reagan National Airport, we received applause from complete strangers. It was heartwarming to see the amount of love for our veterans. Vets and their caregivers then boarded four large touring buses and our day of sightseeing was underway!

October Eastern Iowa Honor Flight to Washington D.C.

Brain got to join the last Eastern Iowa Honor Flight of 2023 to Washington D.C. Here are some of his photographs from an amazing day.

Gallery Credit: Ryan Brainard

For only being in D.C. for a day, our large group was able to take in the World War II Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, The Vietnam Wall, The Korean War Memorial, The Air Force Memorial, and the Iwo Jima statue at the Marines Memorial. We also took a driving tour of downtown Washington D.C. and got glimpses of the Capital Building, the White House, The J. Edgar Hoover Building, and more!

But the biggest event happened when our plane landed back home in Cedar Rapids last night. Hundreds of family members and grateful citizens lined the Eastern Iowa Airport lobby to welcome the veterans home. There was live music, handmade signs, and more than a few tears.

I can't thank the Eastern Iowa Honor Flight enough for allowing me to join this group of veterans on their journey. It was a day I will never forget. If you know of a veteran in your life that you think deserves to take a trip to Washington D.C. visit the Eastern Iowa Honor Flight website and fill out an application today! It is an amazing way to say 'thank you' for our freedom!


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