‘Flight’ includes visits to memorial, cemetery

Published 12:21 am Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Thirty-five veterans will travel to Washington, D.C., this Saturday as a part of the Covington Regional Honor Flight. There, they will visit the World War II Veterans’ Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery.

Tonitta Sauls, CRHF board president, said Tuesday that everyone associated with the flight is excited that the date has almost arrived.

“I am overwhelmed,” she said. “There is a huge amount of work that going into putting something of this magnitude together. However, I am excited to be involved in such a worthy project. Everywhere I go, people make comments about how excited we are that we have put this project together.”

The veterans — along with their guardians and some media representatives — will meet at 2:30 a.m. Saturday morning, with some of the veterans starting at First Baptist Church in Andalusia and some at the LBWCC-MacArthur campus in Opp. The busses will meet in Florala at 3:25 a.m., and depart for the Pensacola airport from there.

The group will fly out of Pensacola Regional Airport at 6:05 a.m. and arrive at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport at 8:13 a.m. They will then fly out of Atlanta and arrive at Washington D.C.’s Reagan International Airport at 11:16 a.m.

The veterans will board a bus at the airport and travel to the WWII Veterans’ Memorial, where they will visit from 12:15 p.m. until 1:45 p.m. — including lunch. They will also visit the Arlington National Cemetery from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m., where they will witness the changing of the guard at 3 p.m.

The group will return to the Reagan International Airport and fly out of Washington, D.C., at 6:35 p.m. They will arrive home in Covington County at approximately midnight Sunday.

“As I continue to make calls to the veterans just to keep in touch, I can tell they are ready to go,” Sauls said. “This week will be non-stop with preparing the last minute details. I would like to thank all of the board members for their hard work.

“I would also like to thank every one who has given their money, their time and their donations.”

Future honor flights are planned, including one possibly as early as the fall, which would include Korean War veterans as well as those who served in WWII.

The veterans who will participate in Saturday’s Honor Flight, as of Tuesday afternoon, are: Aaron Baldwin, Jesse Boatwright, T.J. Boothe, LaFelt Brannon, James Bristow, Arthur Case, Eldrich Chambless, Foyl Hudgens, Dorsey Jeffcoat, James Johnson, John Jones, John Lee, Lamar Maddox, Lee McIntyre, Robert Middleton, James Motes, Randall Palmer, J.D. Parrish, Robert Phillips, George Phillips, Claude Pike, Joe Russell Sr., William Sanders Sr., Merrill Sauls, Charles Saunders, Max Shiver, James Smith, Lee Sullivan, Hubert Sullivan, James Summerlin, Harland Taylor, William Tillman, Arthur Wilkerson, Harold Wise and Wilson Wyatt.