The Veterans Honor Flight Board of Directors was informed Thursday that The Honor Flight Network (HFN), the national organization which coordinates Honor Flight hubs, extended the ban on Honor Flights through June 30, 2020 due to the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis. Currently, Maryland’s stay at home order is “indefinite” in duration and Virginia’s stay home order runs through at least June 10. Also, Arlington National Cemetery remains closed to the public and there is no date certain upon which Arlington National Cemetery will reopen to the public and/or resume public viewing of the changing of the guard. Because of this mandatory suspension, Veterans Honor Flight of Southern Illinois will not be able to fly in June as we had hoped. As a result of this, all Spring flights have been postponed until the Fall.
In accordance with HFN guidance, all fundraisers and events are currently postponed until the Illinois shelter-in-place order is lifted by Governor J.B. Pritzker. Anyone wishing to hold a fundraiser for Veterans Honor Flight should contact us before proceeding.
Veterans Honor Flight board meetings will be held electronically until further notice.
Organizations wishing to hold a check presentation may do so with VHF coordination, providing the event does not consist of more than 10 people, in accordance with Governor Pritzker’s Executive Order.
Each Honor Flight requires thousands of man hours to coordinate and plan. The Board of Directors would like to thank our partners, including SunCountry Airlines, and our volunteers for their outstanding support in this uncertain time.
Veterans Honor Flight is working closely with the veterans already selected to fly in May to ensure they are able to fly as soon as possible. Each veteran selected for Flight 7 remains selected, and will fly on the first flight following the lifting of restrictions.
The Board of Directors is eager to return to our mission, however, a number of our honored veterans are in the high risk category for COVID-19. Our veterans are the reason for our mission, exposing any of them to undue risk is unacceptable.
Veterans Honor Flight announced a first-ever two flight spring following Flight 6 in October 2019. The two flights were scheduled to depart on May 5 and June 9. Each flight is donation-funded and requires over $80,000 to transport 85 veterans to Washington D.C. for a one day trip.