Now that Western Slope Honor Flight has completed what will apparently be its last mission, both the organization and those it served deserve our recognition and gratitude.
In the past two years, Western Slope Honor Flight has raised more than $625,000 and flown more than 500 World War II veterans from western Colorado to Washington, D.C., to visit the National World War II Memorial and other national landmarks.
That’s quite an achievement, when you consider the money was raised in the midst of a global recession and the first flight in 2009 almost didn’t get off the ground due to finances. Then there is the fact that each of the World War II vets are aging warriors with a variety of health problems. For example, the most recent flight — completed on Thursday — required some 60 wheelchairs.
Of course, these modern-day missions, complicated as they are, pale in comparison to the all-out effort the United States and its allies engaged in to defeat fascism in Europe and Asia during World War II, efforts that engaged not just our military personnel, but nearly all of our citizens.
But it was the servicemen and women — the veterans being honored now — who risked everything and sacrificed the most to join in that fight. Nearly all World War II veterans remember buddies who didn’t make it home.
Kudos are due to the leaders of Western Slope Honor Flight, as well as the guardians, medical personnel and other volunteers, who worked hard to organize and carry out the honor flights.
But, more importantly, every U.S. citizen owes incalculable gratitude to veterans who risked all in the service of their country in that terrible war, and in many other conflicts in our history.