The Story Behind The Giant Flag Over US 131 This Morning
Drivers on southbound 131 heading into Grand Rapids were treated to a giant flag draped above the roadway, supported by fire trucks. here's why it was there.
Veterans Heading To Washington DC Were Being Honored
The flag was placed there to honor veterans on their way to Washington DC as part of the Mid-Michigan Honor Flight, which takes veterans from most of the Lower Peninsula to the nation's capitol every year for a "Tour of Honor".
The flag was put up by local fire departments, knowing that the 80 veterans participating in this year's flight would see it, and know that many in the community were proud of their service.
What Is The "Tour Of Honor"?
"...it's like getting a hug from America!" The 80 veterans applied for the tour at the Mid-Michigan Honor Tour web site, and then are flown to DC for a tour of the Veteran's Memorials in our nation's capitol, including the famed Vietnam Veteran's Wall, and the World War II Memorial among others.
Their top priority is to World War II vets, as they are the oldest, followed in order by Korean War vet and then Vietnam vets.
Twelve of those taking part Tuesday are WWII veterans, one a Pearl Harbor survivor.
The group left from Gerald R. Ford International airport Tuesday morning and will spend the next few days in Washington visiting the various memorials.
The Mid-Michigan Honor Flight Is Made Possible With Your Donations
The flight takes veterans twice every year, although they have had to cancel a couple of flights to due to Covid. They fund the flights with donations from sponsors as well as individual donations. You can learn more about how you can donate here.
Michele Terpstra of Grand Rapids told WOOD-TV News that her father has been waiting for this trip.
“It was a great opportunity for him to do this because he has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and so he doesn’t have very much longer so for him to do this honor flight, it’s amazing. He talked about it nonstop (it's)pretty exciting.”