SANFORD, Fla. – A flight to honor women veterans departed Tuesday morning from the Orlando Sanford International Airport.
The Villages Honor Flight, a nonprofit organization created in 2012 — one of 130 hubs in the Honor Flight Network — honored U.S. veterans by flying them for free to Washington, D.C. to see the memorials there.
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This year, the group conducted a first-of-its-kind flight.
“This is the first all-women flight from Florida and came about following a request from the Tri-County Women Veterans almost two years ago,” said Liza Walters, vice president of operations for the flight.
According to Tri-County Women Veterans, the group was able to raise more than $100,000 to make the trip possible.
The overnight flight includes visits to the National Museum of the United States Navy, the United States Air Force Memorial, the World War II Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery and the Women in Military Service for America Memorial, the group said.
Walters said she is glad to see the growing number of women veterans and hopes more will apply in the future.
“It’s about time,” she said. “There are so many of them, and they’ve never really had the recognition before. This is all about recognizing the huge roles that women veterans have played in the military and in the country. It will be real fun and exciting.”
Tri-County Women Veterans said 109 veterans arrived at Orlando Sanford International Airport early Tuesday morning, where they were greeted by a color guard and provided breakfast before officially boarding the flight.
The oldest woman on the flight will be 97-year-old Ruth Jones, a World War II Army vet.
Through 2022, The Villages Honor Flight will have flown more than 1,500 veterans to Washington, D.C.