A nonprofit organization will be flying over 100 Veterans from Michigan to Washington, DC, this June, thanks in large part to an America-loving 16-year-old Kalamazoo girl, according to a report.
The nonprofit organization Mid-Michigan Honor Flight will be embarking on its first trip in over two years after pausing due to the coronavirus pandemic, 9&10 News reports. The organization flies veterans out to Washington, DC, to witness the memorials paying tribute to their service. Eighty Vietnam veterans will see the memorials put up in their honor.
Alice Kraatz, a 16-year-old girl who is Mid-Michigan Honor Flight’s youngest leader, raised $130,000 for the Yellow Ribbon Flight over the past few years, helping to make the trip possible, according to 9&10 News.
Kraatz told 9&10 that it is imperative Americans honor those who have sacrificed so much.
“Regardless of if you have somebody close to you who’s a veteran, it’s really important to recognize these people who have supported us and our country through all these hard times,” Kraatz said.
While she is a vital part of the Mid-Michigan Honor Flight, she is also the state president of the Michigan chapter of Children of the American Revolution (C.A.R), a national patriotic youth organization founded in 1895 by author Harriett M. Lothrop.
In a post from her state president blog in 2019, she noted that C.A.R. Michigan’s theme for the year was to honor and remember “the heroes of our nation with a special emphasis on the veterans of the Vietnam War as we mark the 50th anniversary of that war.” She announced that the C.A.R. Michigan’s project for the year was to raise funds for an Honor Flight for Vietnam veterans who “were not treated with the respect they deserved when they returned from service.”
“The mission that Honor Flight and C.A.R. in this Yellow Ribbon Honor Flight are trying to spread, is one of healing and just love from my generation, because to my generation, they’re all heroes,” Kraatz told 9&10 News.
Twenty-three World War II veterans and twelve terminally ill veterans will also be making the voyage in June, according to 9&10 News. The organization has another flight planned for this upcoming fall.
“Some of these veterans have never been to Washington D.C., they’ve never gotten to see their memorial, so we’re dedicated to their service to our country,” Bob Green, Mid-Michigan Honor Flight President, told the outlet. “It really means a lot to them.”
On Saturday, volunteers called up the veterans and surprised them with the great news that they were invited aboard the upcoming trip.
Cheryl Colley, a photographer for Honor Flight and a Vietnam-era veteran, was surprised to receive a call stating she had been selected to go on the trip as a veteran. Colley said she did not go to Vietnam nor see any action but told 9&10 News that she was immensely honored to be considered along with the other veterans.
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