April and May 2021 Honor Flights canceled amid virus constraints


STUART — In another precautionary measure, Southeast Florida Honor Flight announces the cancellation of their scheduled 2021 Honor Flights for April 10 and May 15 to Washington, D.C. Both of the one-day trips of honor, each scheduled for 80 local WWII, Korean and Vietnam War veterans, will be postponed due to a myriad of factors stemming from the COVID-19 virus.

With the Nov. 19 determination by the National Honor Flight Board of Directors to suspend all Honor Flight-related travel through April 30, 2021, the Southeast Florida Honor Flight Board decided to cancel the May flight, as well. This decision was based upon many factors including, but not limited to: current CDC guidelines and information regarding the timing considerations of the federal roll-out of possible vaccines; Washington’s current visitor requirements for testing and group gatherings; and the fact that the National Park Service is not currently issuing group gathering permits and there is no indication when NPS will resume permitting for group gatherings for the memorials that are the cornerstone of the program.

After canceling their two spring 2020 and their two fall 2020 Honor Flights, the Southeast Florida Honor Flight Board of Directors also made the weighty call to cancel the spring 2021 flights based on risk assessment and the possibility of exposing the older veterans to the virus, as well as no allowed crowd gatherings to welcome the veterans at the airports, another key component of the program. As much as the decision displeases the organization to again forgo honoring awaiting veterans, the health and safety of the veterans, guardians and volunteers is paramount.

Veterans and guardians who were scheduled for the spring 2021 flights will be contacted and transferred to the organization’s fall 2021 Honor Flights, with exact dates forthcoming.

Southeast Florida Honor Flight is, again, heartbroken to have to make this third flight postponement decision, yet staff members are as revved as ever to honor the deserving, local veterans when it is possible to fly again, anticipated to be next fall.

Southeast Florida Honor Flight, part of the National Honor Flight Network, is one of nine Honor Flight chapters/hubs in Florida. Based in Stuart, this hub serves veterans in Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin, Okeechobee and Palm Beach counties. Southeast Florida Honor Flight is dedicated to flying local WWII, Korean and Vietnam war veterans to their respective memorials in Washington, free of charge to the veteran.

For more information, to get involved or donate, please visit: www.honorflightsefl.org, or www.facebook.com/honorflight, or call 855-FLYAVET (855-359-2838).