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La Crosse’s Freedom Honor Flight this year will bring dozens of area veterans to the Washington, D.C., war memorials that stand in their honor, with flights planned for the spring and fall.

Leaders from Freedom Honor Flight announced Tuesday that the year’s first flight is scheduled for May 18, the second for Sept. 14. With the two flights, they said, all of the World War II and Korean War veterans on the group’s waiting list will be able to make the trip.

Since 2008, Freedom Honor Flight has served more than 2,000 veterans across western Wisconsin, southeastern Minnesota and northern Iowa.

Once in Washington, veterans and their guardians are taken by bus to the World War II Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, along with several other popular landmarks.

The trip is made in a single day, making for a rigorous schedule. Because many veterans have health or mobility issues, physicians and paramedics staff each flight, helping with oxygen, medication and other personal needs.

World War II and Korean War veterans are especially encouraged to apply, which can be done at www.freedomhonorflight.org.

The current wait list includes one World War II veteran, 25 Korean War veterans, 572 Vietnam War veterans and 78 other veterans. Those who served in World War II or Korea are given priority.

Freedom Honor Flight receives no federal money and is funded entirely through donations. The group also relies on the work of volunteers.

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