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COVID-19 Concerns Ground Honor Flights Including All In Iowa

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Steve Garrington QC Honor Flight
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Veterans prepare to board an earlier Honor Flight at the Quad Cities Airport.

Veterans who fly to Washington D.C. to see their service memorials on so-called Honor Flights will have to wait until next year.

The National Honor Flight Board  has canceled all trips until 2021 due to concerns over COVID-19.

The trips began in 2005 to take World War II veterans to see their newly-dedicated memorial at no cost to them. Co-Chair of the Sullivan Hartog Davis Flight in Waterloo, Frank Magsamen said the trips have continued with the fewer of the oldest veterans.

“They are still participating in this, both the World War II and the Korean War veterans," he said. “The numbers have certainly reduced and 80 percent now are from the Vietnam War."

President of the Eastern Iowa Honor Flight Dick Bell said they were scheduled to fly to Washington D.C. in September and October.

“Our flights will be rescheduled and we aren’t losing a dime by postponing them," he explained. "Everyone has been very good, the airlines, the buses and all those things, it’s business as usual supporting the veterans and doing what we can to show the appreciation that America has for what they’ve done for us."

Bell said there are four flights each year from the Eastern Iowa Airport. He says nearly 100 veterans are on each daylong trip.

In the Quad Cities, Hub Director Steve Garrington said there are 700 veterans on their waiting list for four flights a year. He said they are considering adding a fifth flight if they can find enough volunteers.