HONOLULU (KHON2) — Honoring those who serve is the motto of the Honor Flight Network.

The Network has been flying veterans to Washington for 17 years to pay tribute to their service and sacrifice and it will soon be flying out of Hawaii.

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The Network has over 130 hubs across the country; primarily flying veterans from WWII, Korea and Vietnam to Washington since 2005.

“Here we are, 17 years later having flown over 250,000 veterans,” said Matthew Shuman, Honor Flight Network chairman, “and that is amazing, but we have a hole in our system and that’s here in the island of Hawaii.”

That hole will close on Monday, Nov. 7 when Alaska Airlines hosts the first Honor Flight out of Honolulu.

“As you can see behind us, honoring those who serve,” said Tim Thompson, Alaska Airlines director of public engagement. “This will be one of the aircrafts that we’ll use and we’ll take this first group out of Hawaii and we’ll have them on this aircraft right here and take them to D.C.”

Vietnam War veteran Will Brown was a military health associate program team general medical officer from 1968 to 1969 and visited the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington after his service in the U.S. Navy.
He told KHON2 how he gathered the courage to relive those memories and heal from his darkest hours.

“This stuff will eat you to death if you don’t do something about it.”

Will Brown, Vietnam War Navy veteran

“Pain is a part of life. And if we welcome and celebrate and learn from the pain that we get in life and go through it, we come out the other side. Undealt-with pain leads to suffering and I refuse to suffer one day at a time,” Brown said.

The Honor Flight out of Hawaii will stop in Portland, Oregon before continuing on to Washington, with the same stop on the way back.

The first Honor Flight from Hawaii will leave on Nov. 7 and return on Veterans Day, Friday, Nov. 11.

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