The President's Corner

Our military veterans have always had a special place in my heart. This was probably triggered by the stories my grandfather would tell me about his service during World War II. This is why Honor Flight Cleveland is so near and dear to me. In fact, over the years I have acted as volunteer and raised funds for the organization. 

Honor Flight Cleveland is an organization that is dedicated to ensuring that as many of our local veterans as possible can visit Washington, D.C. to see “their” memorials. In fact, from 2007 to the present, they have flown over 3,500 veterans on an all-expense paid trip to the nation’s capital. The focus has been on our World War II and Korean War veterans, however, any veteran who is terminally ill is prioritized and invited. I have had the honor of acting as a guardian for the organization. Below I will describe my most recent experience acting as a guardian for my friend Helen Jeris who served in the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) during World War II.

The day began around 4:00 am when I picked Helen up at her home here in Parma. We drove to Cleveland Hopkins Airport and met Honor Flight’s top brass, as well as the other veterans and their guardians. Every veteran is required to be pushed in a wheel chair by their guardian, due to the fact that it is a long, tough day. Once we got checked in, we processed through security to the gate. Along the way, fellow travelers applauded the vets. Needless to say, many of us were in tears as we made our way to the gate (I nearly teared up writing this, in fact.).

We arrived at Baltimore-Washington Airport around 10:00 am where we were greeted by hundreds of travelers who, again, applauded the vets. Yes, we cried again! We soon boarded our motor coach, which took us into D.C. We spent the entire day touring the World War II, Vietnam, Korean, Air Force, Marine-Iwo Jima, and Lincoln Memorials, as well as Arlington National Cemetery where we saw the changing of the guard ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  What an honor it was to visit the World War II and Korean Memorials with a group who served in those conflicts!

Although our legs were tired from a long day of trekking around the D.C. area, we were longing for more, but it was time to go around 6:00 pm. Surprisingly, on the bus trip back to the airport and flight back to Cleveland, the conversations were constant, as we were all so excited about what we experienced together and many fascinating stories were shared. Honor Flight is certainly memorable for all who partake.

Although Honor Flight suspended service in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID, as well as the fact that the Korean War Memorial is currently closed for refurbishment, the hope is to commence flights next year. In the meantime, the organization, which is funded entirely from donations from patriotic donors, will no doubt be in need of financial assistance, as, once flights commence, there will surely be a lot of catching up to do – a lot of vets who have been patiently waiting for the trip. The cost to fly each veteran is approximately $300. If you are able to donate, please send a check payable to Honor Flight Cleveland, 724 Coralberry Lane, Madison, Ohio, 44057.

To find out more about Honor Flight Cleveland, visit their website at Thank you to all of our veterans who sacrificed so that we may be free! As it says on the Korean War Memorial: “Freedom is not free.”


Sean Brennan

Parma City Council President Sean Brennan

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Volume 13, Issue 10, Posted 3:51 PM, 10.01.2021