Don MacLean of Carrabelle and Mary Britz of
The Honor Flight Network, a non-profit organization created solely to honor
Britz and MacLean, both World War II veterans, were part of a group of 77 vets who went to
While the veterans travel free, the guardians and medical staff pay for their own flight.
Because Honor Flight trips start early, Britz and MacLean decided to spend the night of April 25 in
Meals were also donated for the happy travelers.
MacLean said the day began at 5 a.m. when the party gathered for breakfast at the “millionaire hanger” at
Participants were given t-shirts, gold for veterans, blue for guardians and red for medical personnel. Veterans also received goody bags.
MacLean and Britz praised organizer Mack Kemp. “Mack deserves a pile of credit. He spent a year getting ready for the flight,” said MacLean.
“Everything went so smooth, it was unbelievable,” Britz said,
The group departed
“I think we traveled through
Each veteran was provided with a wheel chair. All told, five planeloads of Honor Flight travelers visited
In addition to placing a wreath at the World War II Memorial, the group visited the National Mall and
Britz said the cherry trees were in bloom at
They dined on box lunches while traveling between sights. It was a second trip to the nation’s capital for both travelers.
Britz and her husband attended the dedication of the Women’s Memorial there in 1978. MacLean took a school trip to the Smithsonian when he was 10 years old.
MacLean said everywhere they went on the Honor Flight trip, they were welcomed by throngs of people including many children. Groups represented included the Shriners, Boy and Girl Scouts, Knights of Columbus, Patriot Guard and military honor guards.
During the trip, Britz reconnected with a friend from long ago. She began talking to former Marine Bud Ledson seated next to her on the plane. After comparing notes, they realized Mary had nursed Bud in
Britz’ daughter, Cheryl, said the pair is now speaking on the phone every day.
On arriving home in
“This has really been a great, great honor and privilege,” Britz said. “I'm just thrilled to death with it. It was a very nostalgic trip. I don’t think there were too many dry eyes when we visited
For more information about Honor Flight or to register a veteran for the program, visit www.honorflight.org