Ohio Pilots Give A Lift To World War II Vets...

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"Honor Flight" Takes Off

When the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., was dedicated last year, most veterans were already over 75 years old. Some of them were patients at the V.A. hospital in Ohio where Earl Morse works as a physician's assistant, and Morse realized many of the aging vets would never make it to D.C. to see their monument. Some couldn't afford the plane ticket to Washington, or were too infirm to make the 10-hour car ride. So Morse, a retired Air Force captain, came up with a better idea -- he and his fellow pilots from the Wright-Patterson Aero Club would fly them there, in a Bonanza, a Mooney, a Cessna 210, or a Piper Aztec. Those aircraft and four others -- eight pilots and 12 veterans -- made the two-and-a-half-hour flight from Ohio to Washington and back on May 21, the first of what Morse hopes will be many similar trips. In Washington, the vets were treated like heroes, as they took pictures and reminisced at the Memorial and shared a meal with the local Veterans of Foreign Wars post. The cost to the veteran is zero, and although it's a long day -- leaving Springfield at 8 a.m. and returning about 12 hours later -- the traveling is relatively easy on them.