Honor Flight Announces It Will Expand It’s Invitation to Vietnam Veterans
Anyone who served through May 7, 1975 can sign up.
FARGO, N.D.- Since the start of the program, only those who served through 1959 were eligible to apply.
“We’ve always had a list of WWII and Korean War Veterans, so we just decided we’re not going to advertise Vietnam yet, because we’re not going to get to them for several years. And we’re just now getting to the point where we’re catching up with the WWII and Korean Veterans and we’re starting to accept Vietnam,” says Dave Rice, one of the board of directors of the Honor Flight.
Vietnam veterans say they are grateful that the program is now open to those who served in the war because they are able to go to visit a place that honors those who served and lost their lives.
“The honor flight and the crew, the staff that works and supports and works so hard at putting it together gives me as an individual a feeling of respect, gratitude that the system, the country come around after all these years to give us the respect due. Because it wasn’t like that 50 years ago,” says Vietnam Veteran Ed Ahonen.
They say the treatment of Vietnam Veterans looked a lot different than when the War ended over 50 years ago.
“You couldn’t use your uniform or else you had an arrow on your back. So, there was no respect. They spit on ya walking down the street. It’s completely different today than it was back then,” says Vietnam Veteran Thomas Picard.
The support and donations from the community is what has made possible for these Veterans to visit a place that pays tribute to those who sacrificed everything for freedom.
“We owe them our freedoms to these men and women who have served in WWII, Korea and Vietnam and it’s just our way, our community’s way of saying thank you for your service, thank you for the freedom that you have given us,” says Rice.
There will be three flights out of Fargo and one out of Grand Forks next year.