Nine (9) veterans WWII veterans from Long Island Honor Flight will be visiting on the Nation’s capital on Sunday, 3 October 2021. The youngest of the group is 93 years old.
This group will arrive at BWI airport around noon (WN 1385 ETA 11:55am), tour the
D.C. memorials and return to BWIM at 1800 for dinner and a return flight
(WN 26 ETD 2135) back to ISP.
“RONKONKOMA, NY — Honor Flight Long Island’s free trips for veterans to Washington, D.C. — on hold since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic — are resuming with a special flight in October for nine veterans between Queens and Suffolk County who were on a waiting list.
The organization’s biannual flights will resume in spring 2022, following a decision by the National Honor Flight Network to lift pandemic restrictions on Aug. 15.
After outreach to the veterans and their families, all expressed a strong desire to go this fall, so Honor Flight booked a special one-day flight for Oct. 3. Several of their veterans’ family members will accompany the veterans as guardians.
The veterans will take an early-morning Southwest Airlines flight to Washington, D.C. that will depart from Long Island Islip MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma at 10:40 a.m., and once there the veterans and their guardians will visit the World War II Memorial. From there, they will go on to Arlington National Cemetery for the Changing of the Guard, then a special wreath-laying ceremony, and lastly the Iwo Jima Memorial.
They are set to return to Islip just before 11 p.m. and they will be greeted by the Long Island Bagpipe Band and hundreds of Honor Flight supporters.
The veterans include:
- Dominick Critelli, 100, Floral Park, U.S. Army
- Vincent DePalo, 98, Bethpage, U.S. Army Air Corps
- Constantine Efthimiades, 95, Whitestone, U.S. Army
- Robert Harms, 95, Carle Place, U.S. Navy
- Louis Peretz, 100, Commack, U.S. Army Air Corps
- Eleanor Rizutto, 99, Franklin Square, U.S. Army
- Stephen Samsel, 94, Fairfield, CT, U.S. Navy
- Vincent Tolve, 98, Mastic Beach, U.S. Army Air Corps
- Eugene Zanger, 93, Massapequa, U.S. Army
Bill Jones, president of Honor Flight Long Island, said the special flight “gives nine of our Greatest Generation Americans an opportunity to contemplate their military memorials, meet representatives of their service branches, commiserate with fellow veterans, and exchange WWII stories.
“What the flight really represents is a big hug to these veterans from Honor Flight, their families, and all our supporters who make such flights possible,” Jones added.”