James Allen Jr. and Ira Goggins were among the more than 70 veterans on the final Greater Peoria Honor Flight of the year that flew out from General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport to Washington, D. C. on October 11th. Recognizing the sacrifices and to show gratitude to veterans, the Greater Peoria Honor Flight honors them with a life-changing trip to Washington, D.C. to visit the memorials and experience a day of honor and thanks.
When asked about their experience, the men both shared that they were treated with respect and dignity throughout the course of the one-day trip, which included meals and visiting several memorials, including the Air Force Memorial, U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.
“It was an amazing trip, and I was honored to be among so many veterans. Meeting other veterans and hearing their stories and sacrifices, visiting the memorials, and returning home to welcoming friends and family is an experience I will never forget,” said Mr. Allen.
Ira Goggins also shared that it was a wonderful experience. “All of the staff were very kind. I had been to D.C. many times but never got a chance to visit the memorials. It was enlightening,” he said.
Betty Gillespie was aboard the flight as a guardian. She said having the opportunity to go on the Peoria Honor Flight was an amazing, knowledgeable trip. “It was well planned from early a.m. take off to landing back in Peoria late p.m. It was wonderful being among so many of our Veterans, each Veteran was assigned a guardian to watch over them and make sure this was a trip of a lifetime.
My highlight of the trip was the Changing of the Guards, it was total silence. Dr. Martin Luther King’s Memorial was breathtaking. Iwo Jima has an outstanding memorial statue.
This trip was so deserving for our Veterans. The day was all about honoring and respecting them. I highly recommend that every Veteran get their name on the list, and anyone interested should consider being a guardian or a volunteer. This trip was one of the most fulfilling trips I have done in my life,” she said.
For more information, please visit Greaterpeoriahonorflight.org or call (309) 397-6975.