GRAND ISLAND, Neb. — A program to honor the second and third Hall County Hero Flights will begin at 9 a.m. Friday at the United Veterans Club in Grand Island, said Don Shuda, Hall County veterans service officer.
Shuda said 50 veterans, along with 50 personal escorts, will be making the trip to Washington, D.C., to view the National World War II Memorial.
The trip will include seven support people for each plane, for a total of 14 more people.
He said a large crowd appeared at the United Veterans Club to give a heroes’ send-off to the members of the first Hero Flight, with many more lining the bus route.
“We had people lined up all the way out to Interstate 80,” he said.
Shuda said he is hoping an equally large crowd will be at the United Veterans Club and along the bus route Friday to give those on the second and third Hero Flights an enthusiastic send-off to Washington.
The Patriot Guard Riders will provide an escort for the veterans’ tour buses.
The route out of town will start at the United Veterans Club, go south on Broadwell Avenue and continue southeast on Eddy Street all the way to Anna Street, where the buses will take a short jog to the east before turning south on South Locust until they reach Interstate 80.
Area residents who line the route are being invited to wear their patriotic colors, wave the American flag and hold posters.
Shuda said a highlight of the short 9 a.m. ceremony will be the announcement of the four veterans who have been chosen for the wreath ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.
He said each of the veterans has been notified of his selection to participate in placing the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns.
Saturday’s highlight will be the visit to the World War II Memorial, Shuda said. However, visits also are scheduled to the Lincoln, Korean and Vietnam Memorials.
Sunday’s highlight should be the placing of the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns, Shuda said. Sunday’s itinerary will also include a visit to the Iwo Jima Memorial.
The Washington trip will be capped by a Sunday evening banquet hosted by Major Gen. Galen B. Jackman, U.S. Army retired. Jackman is a native of Nebraska.
Jackman may be best known for his role during the state funeral of former President Ronald Reagan in 2004, when he escorted former first lady Nancy Reagan during ceremonies to mark the death of the nation’s 40th president.