SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — 94 Illinois veterans took flight on Tuesday with the Land of Lincoln Honor Flight’s Mission #63 from the Springfield Abraham Lincoln Capitol Airport to Washington, DC.

The honor flight takes veterans and their guardians to Washington D.C. on a chartered Sun Country 737. Driven by luxury motor coaches, they will visit numerous sites. That includes the World War II, Korean, and Vietnam Memorials, the Arlington National Cemetery Tomb of the Unknowns, the Lincoln Memorial, National Air & Space Museum, the U.S. Marine Corps Memorial and the U.S. Air Force Memorial.

The flight and visits are of no cost to attending veterans.

“While this is Land of Lincoln Honor Flight’s Mission #63, this is the first and only flight for these 94 veterans,” said Joan Bortolon, LLHF President. “Because of the 30-month COVID delay and the length of our waiting list, most of these veterans have been waiting for their day of honor for four years. Their patience is appreciated, and we are ready to show them the respect and gratitude for their service that they earned and deserve.”

Veterans from 55 Illinois counties left the airport on Tuesday at 4:15 a.m. The 94 veterans include two Korean-era veterans and 92 Vietnam-era veterans.

They will return the same day around 9:30 p.m., to which the public, friends, family and LLHF alumni veterans are encouraged to pack the airport for their return.

“The Welcome Home crowd at the Springfield Airport ensures that these veterans experience the welcome home they did not receive when they returned from service,” Bortolon said. “Our veterans have told us that the welcome home in Springfield is one of the most rewarding parts of the experience.”

Parking and shuttle services are available for those attending.

Land of Lincoln Honor Flight is a non-profit organization that can only do these flights through donations, sponsorships, fundraising, merchandise sales, local businesses, individuals and more. Volunteers operate the organization without paid staff, office, or utility costs.

Currently, LLHF has over 500 veterans on a waiting list for a future flight, but they are still accepting applications. Organizers said that any terminally ill veteran should contact the LLHF directly. Applications are available on the LLHF website.

LLHF has been in operation since 2009; since then, they have served 4,923 veterans on 62 flights. The final 2022 flight takes off on Nov. 1.