May 15, 2013

Manchin Welcomes West Virginia Veterans to Washington

West Virginia’s third “Always Free Honor Flight” brings 31 veterans of World War II, Korean and Vietnam Wars to D.C.

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) proudly welcomed 31 veterans from West Virginia to the nation’s capital for the state’s third “Always Free Honor Flight” in less than a year.

The veterans visited the capital free of cost to see the memorials built in their honor. Eleven served in World War II, one in World War II and Korea, 10 in Korea, one in Korea and Vietnam, four in Vietnam, and two in all three wars. Two other veterans served as escorts for the group, along with three high school ROTC cadets.

“It is such an honor to welcome these brave servicemen to Washington today,” Senator Manchin said. “West Virginia is one of the most patriotic states in this great nation, and we will continue to honor the growing number of veterans and active duty members who have served our great country with valor and distinction. Showing our appreciation to the men and women who have served this nation is something we should do each and every day. But today is a special day for us to pay tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our great nation.”

The Honor Flight Network is a nationwide effort to ensure veterans have the opportunity to visit Washington, D.C. to see the monuments that were built to honor their service.  The veterans will tour the Capitol, the World War II Memorial, the Korean War Memorial and the Vietnam War Memorial.

The “Always Free Honor Flight” was established in West Virginia thanks to the Denver Foundation and Little Buddy Radio, located in Princeton. These nonprofit organizations were founded by Bob Denver – who played Gilligan on “Gilligan’s Island” – and his wife Dreama, a West Virginia native.

Senator Manchin hosted a reception in the United States Capitol to welcome the 31 veterans and their escorts to D.C. He thanked the guardians, ROTC cadets and organizers who accompanied the veterans on their flight, including Dreama Denver, President of the Denver Foundation, Charlie Richardson, General Manager of Little Buddy Radio and Pam Coulbourne, “Always Free Honor Flight” coordinator. The veterans also met with other members of West Virginia’s Congressional Delegation.

In addition to the welcome reception, Senator Manchin provided each veteran and guest with a Congressional Record Statement that was submitted into the record to recognize the veterans’ trip to D.C.

In part, Senator Manchin wrote in the Congressional Record Statement:

“I am filled with so much pride every time I meet our military veterans who come to the nation’s capital to visit the memorials built to honor them and to commemorate the wars in which they served so courageously.

“Today, 31 veterans from West Virginia, representing three generations of warriors, are here to see the memorials that commemorate their sacrifice and valor and for a special ceremony honoring World War II veterans.

“And on the occasion of their visit, I want to express my deepest gratitude to these special men who helped keep America free and made the world safer for liberty-loving people across our country and beyond our borders.”

To watch a vine video, or a short looping video clip, of Senator Manchin greeting the veterans, click on the link: