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The Honor Flight network celebrates a special milestone at the World War II Memorial

Published: May. 3, 2022 at 7:51 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - An Arizona honor flight received special recognition in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday. The Honor Flight Network celebrated bringing 250,000th veteran to the memorials built in their honor.

A ceremony took place at the World War II Memorial and highlighted a group of Arizona veterans.

Earl Morse was one of two people originally responsible for launching the idea to bring veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit memorials.

Morse said, “And when you bring them out here, it is life-changing for them.”

What started in 2005 to help veterans in Ohio that Morse worked with is now a nationwide network. Tuesday, before celebrating the 250,000th veteran attending the event, Morse personally greeted each Arizona honor flight attendee before they visited the World War II Memorial.

“Of all the World War II veterans that I shook their hands with, none of them had been to the memorial,” said Morse. “And none of them thought they were going to make it or they made it today. And that is just so exhilarating to all of us.”

During the ceremony, veterans heard from Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Senator Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) and former Senator Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.).

“And may we never forget the sacrifices of America’s greatest generation. So thank you,” said Sen. Kelly.

A World War Two Navy veteran from Bullhead City Arizona, Pete Zaldain also made the journey.

Zaldain said his experience was, “Just awesome. Just great. And this is a beautiful park and the memorials just great.”

Arizona veteran Jerry Voisard said he hopes every veteran has the opportunity to visit the memorials.

“There is been a great experience for me, and I really appreciate what everybody’s doing. A lot of hard work went behind this organization,” said Voisard.

The Honor Flight Network says it still has more than 50,000 veterans on its waiting list nationwide to make the journey to D.C.

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