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SD Senator's Special Link To Honor Flight

September 12, 2011, 7:47 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

SD Senator's Special Link To Honor Flight
SIOUX FALLS, SD - One of South Dakota's senators also shares a special connection with World War II veterans. Senator John Thune's father, Harold Thune, was a Navy fighter pilot during the war, which is why Senator Thune has been especially supportive of Honor Flight.

Nearly every time a group of South Dakota World War II veterans took off on another Honor Flight, Senator Thune was there to send them off.

"It really is special to be able to see these people who served their country at such a critical time in our nation's history recognized," Senator Thune said.

The senator's admiration for this group of American heroes started at home. His dad, Harold, flew several missions in World War II as a fighter pilot, and even received a Distinguished Flying Cross for shooting down four enemy planes.

"Growing up my dad instilled in me a real patriotism, a real respect for the men and women in uniform. And so I have a special affinity for his generation," Senator Thune said.

He even spent four hours interviewing his dad and filing away his war stories as part of the Library of Congress Veteran's History Project.

"Every wrinkle in their face tells a story and it's a story that is very special in our nation's history, and a heritage for which we should be enormously grateful," Senator Thune said.

And that's why he has shown his gratitude for the more than 1,000 veterans who were able to fly to Washington, D.C., courtesy of South Dakota Honor Flight.

"South Dakota is unique in a lot of ways but one of the ways that this is a pretty special place is we have tremendous regard and respect for those who have served and sacrificed so we can live in a country that is free," Senator Thune said.

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