MILWAUKEE -- All March and April Stars and Stripes Honor Flights from all states are being postponed due to concerns over coronavirus. That word comes via a Facebook post on Wednesday morning, March 11.
The post reads as follows:
"The health and safety of our veterans has always been the primary concern of everyone at Stars and Stripes Honor Flight.
"The Honor Flight Network has consulted with the Centers for Disease Control, and has determined that due to the unpredictable nature of the Coronavirus (or COVID-19) outbreak, all March and April Honor Flights from all states are being postponed. The Honor Flight Network will evaluate the situation in several weeks and decide if the May flights will be postponed as well.
"It is our intention that the March 28 and April 25th Stars and Stripes Honor Flights will be rescheduled at some point later this year, under the guidance of the Honor Flight Network, and as soon as those new dates are available, we will share them with you."
For Stanley Larson, going on his Honor Flight was a big deal.
"It was a day that, it was exceptional," Larson said. "I told my wife, I says, 'I got to tell you, honey, this is my second best day of my life because the first one was when you said you'd marry me.'"
Since 2013, Larson became the unofficial ambassador for the program.
"I just promote it to every veteran," Larson said.
But news about the group postponing their March and April trips due to coronavirus has him worried. He fears some veterans may get cold feet.
"All I've got to say to veterans is to please wait and hang in there," Larson said.
"It's just not worth the risk. We couldn't risk somebody being infected and bringing that back to either their homes, their communities, senior living centers, wherever they may live," said Paula Nelson of Stars and Stripes Honor Flight.
Those who had spots on the March and April flights -- they will still have them.
"They have definitely not lost their spot -- will go right to the top of our list and have the option for the upcoming flights," Nelson said.
"This may be a virus that slowed down the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight, but you're still going to go because it means a lot," Larson said.
We are told that volunteers from the Honor Flight are reaching out to every veteran impacted by this decision. Again, the hope is the flights will be rescheduled in the coming weeks.