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Honor Flight Plans A Half Dozen Flights For 2010

December 2, 2009, 9:39 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Honor Flight South Dakota has finished its first year and it was more successful than organizers ever thought it would be.

One year ago organizers of the first Honor Flight started their push to take South Dakota's World War II veterans to see their memorial in Washington D.C.

"When we went into this we really thought we'd do three flights, we would fundraise for three flights, and we'd get three flights off the ground and then we'd be done," Honor Flight Vice-Chairman Rick Tupper said.

But as they held their annual meeting Wednesday night the organizers of Honor Flight say they are far from finished because the first year shattered those expectations, raising more than a half million dollars and sending nearly 500 veterans on four flights to D.C.

"For us its an honor to be standing at their memorial with them when they get to absorb the vastness of it and our country is truly grateful for what they did for us," Tupper said.

And that's why Honor Flight has sky high goals for 2010. The organization is planning on five to six flights next year because they say there is a waiting list of 600 KELOLAND veterans who still want to go on the flight.

"We're looking at all the veterans that still want to go and how we're going to get them there," Tupper said.

Because organizers say these flights not only honor our World War II veterans but also help teach younger generations about the battles that were fought and the sacrifices that were made. 

"This is living history. We want them to be able to tell people what they did and so we can kind of all absorb that," Tupper said.

South Dakota was the 30th state to start an Honor Flight chapter, and Honor Flight says it could have never sent four flights this year without the thousands in donations from across the state.

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