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Honor Flight Long Island Taking Nine WWII Veterans to Visit D.C. Memorials

Written by Chris Boyle  |  14. September 2021

The National Honor Flight Network’s iconic trips – provided free to Veterans – have been on hold since March 2020 due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. National just lifted the pandemic restrictions on August 15th and now Honor Flight Long Island’s (HFLI) Board has unanimously decided to officially re-institute their biannual D.C. flights, beginning in the spring of 2022.
 
However, after a long hiatus which saw HFLI flights cancelled for 2020 and 2021, the Board had a waiting list of nine World War II era Veterans requesting a trip to D.C. After outreach to the Veterans and their families, all expressed a strong desire to go this fall,so HFLI booked a special one-day flight for Sunday, October 3, 2021. Several of their family members will accompany the Veterans as Guardians. We all wish these eight men and one woman God speed and good health on this historic journey to our nation’s capital!
 
Our gallant band of heroes are: Dominick Critelli, 100, Army, Floral Park; Vincent DePalo, 98, Army Air Corps, Bethpage; Constantine Efthimiades, 95, Army, Whitestone; Robert Harms, 95, Navy, Carle Place; Louis Peretz, 100, Army Air Corps, Commack; Eleanor Rizutto, 99, Army, Franklin Square; Stephen Samsel, 94, Navy, Fairfield, CT; Vincent Tolve, 98, Army Air Corps, Mastic Beach; Eugene Zanger, 93, Army, Massapequa.
 
“This special Honor Flight gives nineof our ‘Greatest Generation’ Americans an opportunity to contemplate their military memorials, meet representatives of their service branches, commiserate with fellow Veterans and exchange WWII stories,” said Bill Jones, President of Honor Flight Long Island.  “What the flight reallyrepresents is a ‘Big Hug’ to these Veterans from Honor Flight, their families and all our supporters who make such flights possible,” Jones added.Contact Jones for more quotes at: (631) 276-8825. Visit the HFLI website at: www.honorflightlongisland.org.
 
Thanks to HFLI, nine WWII Veterans will take a free, early-morning Southwest flight to Washington, D.C. Departing from Islip MacArthur Airport at 10:40 a.m., Veterans and Guardians will visit the WWII Memorial, then on to Arlington National Cemetery for the “Changing of the Guard,”next a special Wreath Laying Ceremony and lastly the Iwo Jima Memorial.  They return to Islip at 10:45 p.m. for a rousing welcome by the Long Island Bagpipe Band and thunderous applause from hundreds of supporters! Questions or pre-flight interviews? Contact Robert F. Salant, (516) 328-3959 orrsalant123@outlook.com.    
 
The Honor Flight Network (HFN) requires all their hubs to follow strict health precautions before resuming travel. At this time, all 2021 participants must be fully vaccinated or receive a negative PCR test within 72 hours of a trip’s departure. HFN is also following health recommendations from the CDC, the District of Columbia, and each hub’s state and local jurisdiction, and the masking guidance of all trip venues.
 
About Honor Flight Network
The Honor Flight Network was formed in 2005 with a mission of honoring our nation’s World War II Veterans by flying them to visit the Washington, D.C. WWII Memorial dedicated in 2004. The Honor Flight Network is currently comprised of over 130 hubs throughout the country dedicated to carrying out the Honor Flight mission. In addition to WWII Veterans, the organization now transports those who served in the Korean War, Vietnam War, later conflicts and in special cases of terminal illness or injury, Veterans from more recent service eras. Since 2005, the Honor Flight Network has taken more than 240,000 Veterans to Washington, D.C.  For more information, visit honorflight.org.  

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