KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — On Wednesday, more than 130 women veterans from East Tennessee packed into an airplane headed for Washington. There, they had the chance to visit the memorials built in their honor.
The flight marked a first for HonorAir Knoxville, which escorts veterans from East Tennessee to the U.S. Capitol so they can see the memorials built there honoring people who served in the military. It was the first time the organization took a trip dedicated to women.
The organization usually makes two trips per year, one in the fall and another in the spring. Wednesday's flight is known as Flight 31 — marking the 31st time HonorAir took the trip to Washington. The women's trip was previously meant to be Flight 30, but it was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The flight included women who filled a variety of roles in the military, including one who worked as one of the very first missile systems analysts technicians in 1973. Some others served in operations like Desert Shield, and many Air Force veterans took the time to visit the Air Force Memorial.
Veterans with the flight also saw a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier when they stopped by Arlington National Cemetary. There was also a stop at the Military Women's Memorial and the Vietnam Women's Memorial.
The flight left at 9 a.m. on Wednesday and is scheduled to return in Knoxville at around 7:40 p.m. There will be a Welcome Home Celebration when the plane touches back down.