FORT WORTH, Texas, Sept. 23, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL), in conjunction with the Honor Flight Network, will bring 180 World War II, Korean and Vietnam War veterans from Asheville, N.C. to Washington D.C. to spend the day with their memorials on Saturday, September 24. This historic flight marks not only the 10th anniversary of American’s partnership with the Honor Flight Network, but also American’s 500th Honor Flight since the first one arrived at Washington Reagan National Airport (DCA) in 2006.
“Ten years ago when the Honor Flight Network asked for our help they were using private planes to take a few veterans at a time to Washington D.C. to see the memorials built in their honor. In the time since our partnership began, we have transported thousands of our nation’s bravest veterans from across the country to see their memorials,” said David Seymour, senior vice president, Integrated Operations at American and graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point. “This partnership means so much to American’s employees and we are all proud to serve as their longest commercial airline partner. Our flight and airport crews dedicate their time to work these flights and make sure these heroes know how much they mean to all of us.”
Chicago-based flight attendant Rosalia Villanueva-Whiteman is a member of the volunteer crew this weekend and is looking forward to participating in her first Honor Flight. “My son recently committed to West Point. I’ve always appreciated those who have taken the time to serve our country, but it’s now taken on a whole new meaning,” said Rosalia. “I’m honored to spend the day with our veterans and volunteer my time to such a great cause.”
In addition to the pilots and flight attendants who donate their time, DCA-based Customer Care Agent Greg Locher serves as the volunteer organizer for all of DCA’s Honor Flights and has been involved since day one. This week he is pulling out all the stops to make the veterans’ arrival meaningful: a water cannon salute, red carpet, honor guard formations, a choir with a 39 piece band, swing dancers and more.
The veterans will receive a police escort through Washington D.C. as they visit several memorials. At the Korean War Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery veterans will participate in wreath laying ceremonies.
“To have the opportunity to visit ‘our’ specific memorial, collectively, as we did in combat, is a true and solemn honor,” said USMC Captain (Ret.) T. Hilliard Staton, Korean War Veteran. “American Airlines and Blue Ridge Honor Flight are providing us with a very special gift by making it possible for so many of us to stand in awe before a monument dedicated to all who served during this long three year war. We are deeply appreciative.”
For more information about the ways American Airlines supports military, veterans and their families, please visit www.AA.com/military.
About American Airlines Group
American Airlines and American Eagle offer an average of nearly 6,700 flights per day to nearly 350 destinations in more than 50 countries. American has hubs in Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C. American is a founding member of the oneworld alliance, whose members and members-elect serve nearly 1,000 destinations with 14,250 daily flights to 150 countries. Shares of American Airlines Group Inc. trade on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol AAL. In 2015, its stock joined the S&P 500 index. Connect with American on Twitter @AmericanAir and at Facebook.com/AmericanAirlines.
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