Land of Lincoln Honor Flight (LLHF) received notice on Friday, June 12 from its National governing organization that all honor flights nationwide have been suspended through the end of 2020 due to continued concerns related to COVID-19. This was a difficult but necessary decision to ensure the safety and continued health of the nation's most important national resource: its Veteran heroes.
The national Honor Flight network estimates that all hubs (of which LLHF is one) were on track to serve more than 20,000 veterans on 2020 flights and expected to reach the milestone of providing these flights to more than a quarter million veterans since the network was founded. Specifically, Land of Lincoln Honor Flight had six 2020 flights scheduled and planned to serve more than 500 Central Illinois World War II, Korean Era and Vietnam Era veterans.
LLHF is disappointed by these constraints resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and that the over 600 local veterans on the waiting list will now have their flight delayed by a year. However, Land of Lincoln Honor Flight is dedicated to serving all Veterans currently on the wait list, as well as those who have yet to apply as soon as conditions are safe. The LLHF Board will begin planning for 2021 flights and will share the anticipated 2021 flight dates as soon as they are confirmed.
COVID–related social distancing and public gathering restrictions have also caused the cancellation of numerous fundraisers planned to benefit flights. LLHF continues to explore creative approaches to on-line fundraising so that sufficient funds will be available to serve veterans in the near future. The 2020 annual raffle prize is a custom-made Land of Lincoln Honor Flight regulation Cornhole/Bags boards and bags. Raffle ticket purchase information and photos of this prize can be viewed on Land of Lincoln Honor Flight’s Facebook page.
Applications are still being accepted from World War II, Korean Era and Vietnam Era veterans who would like to participate on an upcoming flight. Applications can be obtained online at www.landoflincolnhonorflight.org, by email at JMB4604@aol.com, or by calling (217)585-1219 or (217)652-4719.
Until flights can be resumed, LLHF will continue to find ways to show gratitude to the nation’s Veterans and encourage the community to do the same.