Franklin County had the first Honor Flight organization in Missouri. Tuesday it became the first to have as a guardian Miss Missouri, who is Tippe Emmott of Springfield.

She accompanied 37 World War II and Korean War veterans to Washington, D.C., to visit memorials dedicated in their honor for service to their country. These flights have been arranged by Franklin County’s Honor Flight committee since 2006. Flights have been held every year since 2006. More than one a year have been arranged.

Miss Missouri was the guardian for Victor Voss, Krakow, a World War II Navy veteran. His name was drawn from the list making this trip.

Honor Flight is a memorable occasion for veterans. For the majority of them, this has been their only opportunity to see the memorials. It’s a one-day trip. The veterans left St. Louis early Tuesday morning and returned late last night. The trip is free for veterans. Guardians pay for their trip. Honor Flight raises money to provide for the transportation.

The Honor Flight leaders have done a remarkable job. The committee meets throughout the year, planning the trips and events to raise money. It has had many sponsors to pay for the various expenses. The cooperation by individuals, businesses, governmental entities and organizations has been outstanding. Much gratitude is due the guardians, who watch over the veterans during the trip.

Veterans who have made the trip have commented that it “was one of the best days of their lives.” The flights are a reminder that our World War II veterans are leaving us at a rapid pace. Out of the 16 million men and women who served in World War II (1941-45), only about 3 million are still with us. Honor Flight now is serving Korean War (1950-53) veterans also.