The 2015 session is in full swing. In the midst of considering the budget and other necessary measures for Indiana, I recently had an opportunity to honor a group of service-minded Hoosiers I admire. In tandem with the Senate, I sponsored a concurrent resolution honoring the Indy Honor Flight.
The national Honor Flight Network was started in 2005 by Earl Morse, a retired Air Force captain and physician’s assistant.
Earl had many World War II veterans as patients in his clinic, and he had many discussions with them about the World War II memorial in Washington D.C, which was completed in 2004.
The veterans were delighted that the memorial was finished and hoped they would be able to see it. As time went on, however, it became clear that many of the veterans had neither the physical nor monetary capacity to visit the memorial built in their honor.
Morse also was a private pilot, and he developed the idea of flying World War II veterans from his clinic to see the memorial in D.C. The veterans were enthusiastic about this opportunity, and Morse asked other pilots he knew to donate their time to fly these veterans free of charge to the memorials.
Since 2005, the Honor Flight Network has flown more than 100,000 veterans to the nation’s capital to visit their memorials.
The Honor Flight Network currently has more than 100 hubs throughout the country, one of which opened in Evansville last year. The Indy Honor Flight has provided nine flights for 635 veterans. My concurrent resolution acknowledged the service of more than 2,000 Hoosier volunteers who have provided this incredible opportunity for veterans. I was pleased to honor these men and women, but there is much more to do.
Many of our veterans never received a homecoming celebration when they came home from their deployment. That is why the Indy Honor Flight has organized a homecoming celebration for the return of the April flight.
On Saturday, April 4, Plainfield High School will be the site of the homecoming that these veterans richly deserve. Everyone is welcome to come at 8 p.m. and support our veterans who have bravely defended the freedom we enjoy.
Another opportunity to get involved with the Indy Honor Flight is to write a letter to a veteran. On their flight back to Indiana, veterans will have a mail call and open letters thanking them for their service to our country. This is a wonderful way to let our Hoosier veterans know that we have not forgotten their sacrifice and that we appreciate them.
Each veteran will receive at least 40 cards and letters, and you can help make that possible. You can find more information at indyhonorflight.org/mailcall.
Working in the Legislature is rewarding in many ways, and participating in resolutions such as this is certainly one of those ways.
I was privileged to recognize an organization that does so much for our veterans, and I encourage you to get involved as well. Together, we can give Indiana’s veterans the recognition they deserve. I hope you will join me in Plainfield in April to give these heroes a proper homecoming.
State Rep. Bob Cherry (R-Greenfield) represents portions of Hancock and Madison counties. He serves as vice chairman of Ways and Means. He also serves on the Local Government Committee and Rules and Legislative Procedures Committee.