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Honor Flight returns after hiatus due to pandemic

Honor Flight will be taking dozens of veterans to Washington D.C. this September for the first time in three years.

PORTLAND, Ore. — After a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic, Honor Flight is back. Dozens of World War II, Korean War and Vietnam veterans will head to Washington D.C. in a few months to visit memorials and tour museums. 

Korean War Veteran Leo Tautfest, 89, served in the Navy in the 1950s and will be going on Honor Flight this September, several years after he applied for the trip.

"It would be an opportunity to acknowledge and remember the terrible sacrifice that our wars have taken," he said.

RELATED: The pandemic canceled Honor Flights for 2020, now they fear World War II veterans may not go again

Tautfest said he has not been to the capital in 45 years.

"It will be fascinating to see the ways our country has honored those that served, and how things look today," he said.

The trip is free for the veterans, with Honor Flight covering the cost through donations, but that cost is going up. Linda Azorr, president of Honor Flight in Portland, said inflation has affected prices for airfare, food and transportation. 

In previous years the trip would cost around $1,200 for each veteran, but coming back after the multi-year hiatus, the price tag has risen to $1,700 or more. The high cost is partly due to making sure the veterans have a good travel experience.

RELATED: 99-year-old Beaverton veteran receives several medals for his service

"It's not a cheap trip," Azorr said. "We're not going to give them McDonald's to eat. We don't just want to make sure they are fed, but we want them to be fed well. It's two really long days."

Tautfest said during his time in Washington D.C., he will remember the people who were lost in the wars.

"Never expected to be honored," Tautfest said. "My time in the service was so rich and good for me as a young man."

Honor Flight is in need of donations and volunteers. Anyone who's interested can visit their website for more information.



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