First all-female Florida honor flight lands back home


(NewsNation) — A special group of women embarked on the trip of a lifetime to be honored in Washington, D.C.

It took almost three years to make it happen, but 109 women veterans had a whirlwind trip — visiting war memorials, monuments and even attending a banquet. They made up Florida’s first all-female trip for the Villages Honor Flight Mission No. 53.

After being honored in our nation’s capital, they’re now able to relax and look back on their big trip.

The group of women gave a new meaning to the term girl power, traveling from Sandford, Florida to Washington, D.C., and were warmly welcomed with music and an enthusiastic crowd cheering and thanking them in celebration.

“I think it’s very important to honor these veterans because when we added up the number of years that they serve, it came to 1,830 years, and that’s just for the women on this flight,” said Liza Diane Walters, Villages Honor Flight vice president of operations. “I think it’s high time that they were recognized, and they were treated, you know, on a level with their male counterparts.”

The female trailblazers, who served in the Korean War, World War II and even the Vietnam War, were treated to a tour of our nation’s capital and now a sisterhood that will connect them forever.

“The purpose of the honor flight really is not to see the memorials, although this is what we say it is — it’s really the camaraderie. Being with all the best, and especially for these women, being with their sisters together. That was what made it special,” Walters explained.

Liza said more than $130,000 was raised for this trip, which included a visit to Arlington National Cemetery and the National Museum of the U.S. Navy.

“The coolest thing was, we were going on this incredible museum, looking at all the photos, and one of our vets had her photo on the wall. She was the first female to be in command at that time,” Walters recalled. “She had no idea her photo was there. So of course, that was absolutely incredible.”

While their recognition may be long overdue, the positive impact these women have left on our country is tangible every day.

The first all-female honor flight in the U.S. was in 2015; it was an honor flight from three states and included all female veterans from Cincinnati, Kentucky and Indiana.

Walters said they hope to take another trip again soon, but right now they’re just resting and looking back at all the excitement from this trip.

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