Honor flights for vets continue despite shutdown - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Honor flights for vets continue despite shutdown

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It's a quiet afternoon at Plattsburgh International Airport. But come 7 a.m. Saturday, the airport lobby will be packed with World War II veterans and their loved ones.

"Every flight has to be perfect; every flight is their last flight. It is their only chance; they don't get a second try," said Danny Kaifeitz, the Honor Flight director.

Honor Flight transports war heroes to Washington, D.C., to visit and reflect at their memorials, specifically the World War II Memorial. The roundtrip same-day flight is free for the vets. The nonprofit has been around for eight years, but the North Country hub was created this year. This is their fifth honor flight.

World War II veteran Dave Mitchell was on the first North Country Honor Flight in May. He says the experience was life-changing.

"I think anyone that has a chance to go better go once in their lifetime, just once in their lifetime," he said.

"I'm very interested and excited about getting on this flight," said Clayton Ray, a World War II vet.

For Ray, the upcoming flight is something he's waited for a long time.

"It's a good thing they're doing it because they're going to run out of World War II people very soon," Ray said.

The government shutdown almost kept the flight from happening. But Honor Flight organizers say they wanted to do everything in their power to make sure that didn't happen.

"They will never get this opportunity over," Kaifeitz said. "It's on a different magnitude. An honor flight being stopped is so much more devastating because of the value of the people we are honoring."

An opportunity to remember our heroes and honor their sacrifices then-- today.

This is the last flight this year. Flights will start up again next spring. Veterans need to apply to attend an honor flight. Click here for more information.

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