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About 200 area veterans will visit war memorials honoring their service during the 21st and 22nd Freedom Honor Flights to Washington, D.C., later this year.

Those selected will travel from La Crosse to Washington May 12 or Sept. 15 for one-day trips that are made possible through private donations, La Crosse Freedom Honor Flight President Pat Stephens announced Wednesday.

“Some of them say, ‘It’s finally my turn?’ ” he said.

Freedom Honor Flight, the local hub of the national Honor Flight Program, has arranged for more than 2,000 veterans to visit war memorials in the past decade.

A total of three World War II veterans, 82 Korean War veterans, 466 Vietnam War veterans and 65 others remain on the waiting list.

“We have our work cut out for us,” Stephens said.

Veterans are selected for the flights in the order they applied, although World War II and Korean War veterans are prioritized. Physicians and paramedics abroad can help with medical needs so veterans suffering health problems can travel, while volunteer guardians provide additional assistance.

Expenses for each flight exceed $100,000, and the organization relies on the community for support. Festival Foods will accept donations for the program June 24 through July 8. Customers donated about $20,000 during the event last year.

All veterans are encouraged to apply at


(1) comment


Just my opinion as a Vietnam veteran, but they should be removed from the ranks for this honorable venture. Keep the few WWII and Korea vets on the waiting list, but drop the Vietnam vets. We're still young enough to have gone on our own, or even go now on our own, or be assisted by disabled vet organizations.

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