Media director discusses the importance of the Honor Flight

HENDERSON, Ky. (WEHT) – Some veterans will be taking a trip to Washington, D.C. next week, thanks to the Honor Flight of Southern Indiana (HFSI).

Diane Shaw says she has been involved with HFSI since 2015. She served as Vice President from 2017 to 2022, and is currently the media director.

Diane Shaw explains, “We fly local veterans to Washington D.C. to visit the memorials that were built in their honor. It’s a free trip for those veterans who are selected to go… Any veteran who has served this country that has an honorable discharge is eligible to take his or her honor flight.”

Shaw says she has a few stories about some of the veterans on the flight. She says sometimes they get emotional, especially when they interact with the Vietnam Wall. Other times the veterans just take it all in because they know they will never return to Washington, D.C.

“Some of my favorite stories are memories – every flight there are always those veterans whose stories just pull on your heartstrings, especially those veterans who are visiting the Vietnam Wall to find someone special that they served with during Vietnam…. I always give them a moment and then I always walk up and just make sure that they’re okay. And I remember one time I did that with a veteran… and he said, ‘I’m just taking it all in because I’ve never been here before, and I’ll never be back again.’ And… you realize that you’re giving these veterans, sometimes, their first trip ever to Washington D.C..”

She thinks over eighty veterans will have “one of the best days of their lives.”

“So, we have 86 veterans that are going on the flight. I think we’ll have 86 veterans that are having the day of their life. We hear this all the time – that it’s one of the best days of their lives.”

Shaw notes that the veterans tend to like the stops where they can explore on their own. The main features of the trip include the Korean War Memorial, the Vietnam Wall, the Lincoln Memorial, the Reflecting Pond and the Washington Monument.

“I would say it’s the stop where they have the availability to explore on their own – the Korean War Memorial, the Vietnam Wall, the Lincoln Memorial – it’s what we call ‘The Trilogy.’ At that same stop they can sit and just reflect and view the Reflecting Pond and the Washington Monument – it’s our longest stop of the day, and it’s the stop that has the most for them to see. That one stop.”

She acknowledged the “tremendous response and support” from the community, and invites people to come out to the airport and give the veterans the Welcome Home Parade some of them never experienced.

“We have tremendous response and support from the Tri-State community. And we couldn’t do what we do to provide these free Honor Flights without the tremendous support… we appreciate everything that they do for us. One thing that we really need the Tri-State viewing audience to come out and experience is the Heroes Welcome Home Parade on Saturday, October 21st… it’ll be the first Welcome Home Parade for some of these veterans because they never got to experience that.”

You can watch the entire interview in the player above.