Flight honors veterans|Column

Published 2:12 pm Monday, May 11, 2009

By Staff
Jo Bonner
The inaugural Honor Flight South Alabama took 92 men and women from the greatest generation to Washington, D.C., to visit the National World War II Memorial. 
Founded by the South Alabama Veterans Council, Honor Flight South Alabama is a very special organization whose mission is to fly heroes from Mobile, Baldwin, Washington, Clarke, Monroe, Covington, and Escambia counties to see their national memorial.
Over six decades have passed since the end of World War II and, regrettably, it took nearly this long to complete work on the memorial that honors the spirit and sacrifice of the 16 million who served in the U.S. armed forces and the more than 400,000 who died. 
Sadly, many veterans did not live long enough to hear their country say “thank you” yet, for those veterans still living, Honor Flight provides for many their first — and perhaps only — opportunity to see the National World War II Memorial, which honors their service and sacrifice.
This Honor Flight, which marked the organization’s maiden flight, began at dawn when the veterans gathered at historic Fort Whiting in Mobile and traveled to Mobile Regional Airport to board a US Airways flight to Washington. 
During their time in our nation’s capital, the veterans visited the World War II Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, and other memorials.
The veterans returned to Mobile Regional Airport Wednesday night, where 1,000 people — including high school bands, Boy Scout troops, and Azalea Trail and Dogwood Trail Maids — greeted them.
This journey of 92 men and women from south Alabama is an appropriate time for us to pause and thank them — and all of the soldiers who fought in World War II — for they collectively — and literally — saved the world from the evils of tyranny. 
To a person, these men and women personify the very best America has to offer, and we should all take a moment and pay tribute to their selfless devotion to our country and the freedom we enjoy.
May we never forget their valiant deeds and tremendous sacrifices.  Special thanks to the organizers, volunteers, and donors, who helped make Honor Flight South Alabama a reality.
Jack Kemp Passes Away
Like many Americans, I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former congressman and former secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Jack Kemp last week.
Our nation lost a great patriot.
A star quarterback and the American Football League’s most valuable player, Congressman Kemp was an unlikely leader of the modern conservative economic movement. 
Under his leadership, across-the-board tax cuts became the central focus of the Republican Party’s economic policy.  He and the late Senator William Roth co-authored the tax rate reductions of President Ronald Reagan’s Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981, which played a key role in the party’s resurgence.
Congressman Kemp’s impressive career culminated when he became the Republican vice-presidential nominee in 1996.  He will be deeply missed by all.
My staff and I work for you.  If we can ever be of service, do not hesitate to call my office toll free at 1-800-288-8721 or visit my website at http://bonner.house.gov.
For release the week of May 11, 2009. For more information, please contact Nancy Wall at (202)225-4931.