Local vets, chaperones will travel to nation’s capital next weekend to see war monuments

Published 3:38 pm Thursday, September 29, 2022

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At least 10 local military veterans and their chaperones will be among those making a bus trip to Washington, D.C. next weekend to visit the nation’s war memorials built in their honor. The group will visit a variety of sites including Arlington National Cemetery, the WWII Memorial, Korean War Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, and the Afghanistan-Iraq Memorial, which currently is under construction.
The group will also stop in Bedford, Va., at the D Day Memorial.
The bus is scheduled to leave East Side Free Will Baptist Church at 9 a.m. shortly after a brief send-off ceremony at the church featuring the National Anthem sung by Loretta Bowers and the show of colors by the Jr. ROTC from Elizabethton High School. The Elizabethton Fire Dept. will also be on hand to display a large American flag from a ladder on one of its fire trucks. The bus on its way out of town will circle through the East Side School parking lot where students will be waiting to give the group a big send-off. The bus will be escorted out of town by local law enforcement.
The trip is sponsored by Honor Flight of the Appalachian Highlands, a hub of the National Honor Flight Network. The group serves veterans of all eras but prioritizes WWII, Korea, Vietnam era and terminally ill veterans for an all-expense paid trip to the nation’s capital to see the memorials built in their honor.
Al Hughes, a local chaplain for Honor Flight of the Appalachian Highlands, will be among those making the trip. Hughes has made the trip twice, both as a veteran and chaperone.
Among local veterans making the trip are Gary Timbs, Harold Timbs, Harvey Guess, and his brother, Jim. All are Vietnam veterans. Among the guardians will be Hughes, Don Shepherd, and Sam Rogers. “There will be 20 veterans on the trip. Not all are local,” said Hughes.
The group will return on Sunday, Oct. 9, and upon their arrival at the church, there will be another brief ceremony. “The bus will arrive back home around 5 or 6 p.m.,” Hughes said.
“An honor flight tour is a small token of our appreciation for our veterans’ service and sacrifice and to show them that it is as important today, as when they served,” said Hughes, who noted that the trips would not be possible if not for the generous support of the community by volunteering and through donations by businesses, corporations, and individuals.
The group will travel by charter bus and spend a couple of nights in a Washington, D.C. hotel.

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