September 5, 2014
Central Missouri Honor Flight Announces Special Tribute Honor Flight for Vietnam Veterans Thanks to Donation from Veterans United Foundation
Area Vietnam War veterans, some on a waiting list since 2009, will be treated to a very special Yellow Ribbon Honor Flight that will take them to Washington D.C. for the day on a unique mission.
"We are tremendously grateful to the Veterans United Foundation for answering our call for assistance," CMHF president Mary Paulsell says. "Central Missouri has been so enormously generous to Honor Flight since late 2008, and as a result of that generosity, we have been able to honor the service and contributions of more than 1,800 WWII, Korean War and Vietnam War veterans in 29 flights since May 2009. As we approach the waiting list of more than 250 Vietnam veterans still awaiting their Honor Flight, we needed additional support to continue our work. True to their mission and focus on improving the lives of our active duty military and veterans, the employees and leadership of Veterans United stepped up to ensure that funds are available for this special experience for 70 of our Vietnam War veterans."
Vietnam War veterans will be invited to participate on the Yellow Ribbon mission in the order in which they applied to Central Missouri Honor Flight. The flight will be filled by veterans whose names are currently on the extensive waiting list.
A mission to the Vietnam War memorial is a unique opportunity to give back, Paulsell adds. For some, a trip to The Wall is part of a healing process for veterans now in their late 60s and early 70s who have been waiting to see their memorial and, in many cases, to see the names engraved on The Wall of those were left behind in that bloody and costly engagement.
Following the completion of the Yellow Ribbon Mission on Oct. 8, Central Missouri Honor Flight will resume its historic Honor Flights that offer an opportunity for veterans of WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam War to make the journey to Washington together, which has been the case on the last two Central Missouri Honor Flights.
"Our first priority will always be the veterans of WWII, due to their advancing age and the fact that their memorial was not completed until late 2004," Paulsell says. "Following our WWII veterans, we have been honored to give next priority to veterans of the Korean War - often called The Forgotten War - for their heroic service during that conflict in the early 1950s. Then we will continue to fill the flights with Vietnam War veterans. The unique combination of the three generations of service members who share common memories and discuss the changes in military engagements through the years are like a traveling time capsule of military history that continually teaches us that although equipment and strategies of engagement may have changed through the years, the heroism and commitment of our military service members has not. One group stands on the shoulders of the generation before, and their sharing is special, unique and truly inspirational."
Veterans United Home Loans and its employees strive to serve those who served our country. Each day is devoted to helping veterans achieve the American dream of homeownership, and sometimes helping veterans obtain that dream involves more than home loans; sometimes it involves helping veterans see the memorials built to honor their service to our country.
Veterans United Foundation is supported entirely by the employees of Veterans United Home Loans. The foundation is committed to enhancing the lives of veterans and military families nationwide, by supporting non-profit organizations that strengthen local communities and honor the sacrifices of those who served our country. It also provides individual donations to current and former military members in need. Learn more at EnhanceLives.com.
The Oct. 8 Yellow Ribbon Mission will include 70-75 Vietnam War veterans already on the CMHF waiting list, supported by 35-40 volunteer guardians and staff. However, the Honor Flight touches thousands of people through family, friends and communities of each veteran who participates. The true number of people served is impossible to quantify, but the impact is enormous.
Central Missouri Honor Flight believes - and Veterans United agrees - that the Yellow Ribbon Mission will bring some long overdue attention and gratitude to the veterans of the Vietnam War, many of whom were overlooked - even disparaged - for answering their nation's call to service.
"We feel it is past time for us to help shed some light on that dark chapter of our nation's past," Paulsell says. "The manner in which our Vietnam veterans were treated upon their return has haunted many for many decades. It is time that we right that wrong, and replace bad memories with good ones. That is what Honor Flight does. With the generous support of Veterans United Foundation, that is what we will do.
"This Honor Flight will allow these men and women the opportunity to travel together, support one another, collectively remember and emotionally heal this difficult time in their lives. None of us can adequately understand what these veterans experienced. But they can understand one another, and it is critical that they be allowed to stand together throughout this celebration of their service."