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UP Honor Flight plans three flights for 2021

HOUGHTON — In a normal year, Upper Peninsula veterans would have been headed to the nation’s capital Wednesday as part of the U.P. Honor Flight.

Because of COVID-19, Wednesday’s flight, which would have been Mission 19 for the Honor Flight, was cancelled. So was the scheduled Mission 18 in the spring.

To accommodate those who had planned to go this year, as well as those behind them on the waiting list, the U.P. Honor Flight is planning three flights for next year, executive director Scott Knauf said.

Flights are planned for May 5, May 26 and Sept. 22. Contracts with the airline and bus company have already been lined up, Knauf said.

“It all depends on what the situation’s like at that point, if we’re able to safely fly these veterans out to D.C. and give them their tour of honor,” he said.

About 85 veterans go on each flight. Those who were scheduled to fly in May will go on the first flight scheduled for next year. Those include two World War II vets — one 100, one 97 — and nine Korean War veterans.

The Honor Flight is still accepting applications for other veterans. Anyone who served between 1941 and May 1975 is eligible to go on the Honor Flight. Beyond that, it doesn’t matter if they served during wartime or peacetime, or whether they were overseas or stateside, Knauf said.

The flights are free for veterans, though any person accompanying them must come up with a $500 donation, Knauf said.

For more information, people can go to upperpeninsulahonorflight.org. People can find applications, fill them out, and mail them to the address on the website.

Knauf is also seeking a group of people that would be interested in making blankets for the flight. One of the two groups that has traditionally made them recently withdrew, Knauf said.

“With three flights instead of two, it’s that many more blankets we’ve got to make,” he said.

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