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Editorial: Honor Flight trips are a true inspiration

This week on the front page, we write about Everett Turnbull, a World War II veteran who took what he called the "trip of a lifetime" in October.

No, he didn't go to sunny Hawaii.

No, he didn't go on a week-long Caribbean cruise.

He went to Washington, D.C., to see, among other things, the war memorial dedicated to the battle he fought in.

Turnbull's trip was made possible by the Honor Flight network, a group of incredibly dedicated individuals who have raised boatloads of money to send veterans like Turnbull to Washington, D.C., for free. What an amazing effort on their part.

Twice a year, hundreds of Minnesota veterans board airplanes, see all the main memorials in D.C., then return, all within an 18-hour period of time. It's an incredible feat of organization, and it needs to be applauded at length.

Turnbull, who has fought cancer for more than 10 years, would not have been otherwise able to make the trip.

Now he is doing what he can to draw attention to the Honor Flight network, hoping that other veterans from Hastings will get the same opportunity he had. We are asking that if you are a veteran of World War II, or if you know someone who is, you learn about the trip and realize this opportunity.

We've written much about our veterans on these pages, and we've done what we can to say thanks to them.

This flight, though, must be the ultimate way for a veteran to learn his or her service was appreciated. It goes beyond just the flight and the visit to the memorials. All along the way, Boy Scouts, current members of the armed forces and volunteers line up to say thanks to these men and women.

When Turnbull and his fellow service members returned to the Twin Cities, they were greeted at the airport by their families, who were eagerly waving flags and signs.

For many sons and daughters, it was likely the first time they were able to really celebrate their parents as heroes.

And that's exactly what these men and women are.