Learn what to expect on a trip

Honoring Heroes with the Journey of a Lifetime

Below on this webpage, we’ve provided an overview of a typical trip with Honor Flight Southern Arizona. While we strive to maintain consistency, it’s important to note that certain elements of the journey might vary due to factors like availability, weather conditions, and other unforeseen circumstances. Nevertheless, this outline aims to give you a glimpse of the heartwarming and commemorative experiences our veterans can expect. We appreciate your understanding that, while we make every effort to adhere to the itinerary, some adjustments may be necessary to ensure the best experience for our honored guests.

Tucson —–> Washinton DC

The journey beginns in Tucson

Our transformative journey commences in the heart of Tucson, where anticipation and camaraderie fill the air. As our honored veterans gather, the process of registration bridges the past with the present, uniting individuals with shared experiences yet distinct stories. With every name registered, the excitement becomes palpable. Soon, we transition to the momentous act of boarding the plane, where the promise of the upcoming adventure melds with the collective memory of service. As the engines roar to life and we prepare for takeoff, it’s not just a plane that’s set in motion, but a deep, heartfelt tribute celebrating those who’ve given so much. And as Tucson fades below, our shared journey of remembrance and honor truly begins.

Airport —-> Busses —–> Hotel

The plane has landed

As the plane’s wheels touch down, a new chapter of our journey unfolds. The strong energy of our group, a mix of eagerness and excitement, is felt as we transition from the aircraft to our awaiting buses. The drive to the hotel offers a moment of anticipation, a prelude to the days ahead, with fleeting glimpses of the city that houses our nation’s most revered memorials. Upon arrival, unpacking becomes more than just a routine; it’s the act of settling into a space that will be our base for this commemorative expedition. As the afternoon sun dips, there’s a gentle shift from the day’s travels to an evening of camaraderie. Our group dinner serves not just as a feast but also as a moment to connect, share stories, and prepare for the coming day’s adventure. With hearts full and spirits high, our heroes retreat to their rooms, seeking a night of restful slumber, ensuring they’re rejuvenated for the unforgettable experiences that await.

Hotel —–> Memorial

The tour begins

On an average trip, though sometimes subject to change, our day begins with a deep dive into the heart of our nation’s history. Our first destination is the FDR Memorial, a sprawling tribute capturing the essence of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s enduring leadership through four presidential terms. Walking amidst its granite walls and statues, the profound challenges of the Great Depression and World War II come to life, echoing the resilience of a nation under FDR’s guidance. We then make our way to the World War II Memorial, a majestic tribute dedicated to those who served during this momentous global conflict. The grandeur of its arches, pillars, and the central reflective pool is a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made and victories won. If luck is on our side, we might even spot ‘Kilroy,’ a piece of cultural graffiti that became an emblem of hope and humor for American G.I.s during the war. The bronze medallions and etched stars tell tales of valor and unity, evoking memories and strengthening the bonds shared among those who experienced this era firsthand. It’s a moment of deep reflection and reverence, setting the stage for our continued exploration of American heroism.

WWII ———> Vietnam/Korea

The journey continues

On the next leg of our journey, before delving into the raw emotions of the Vietnam Wall and the Korean War Memorial, we pause for a cherished tradition. Every group makes a special stop at the steps leading up to the Lincoln Memorial. Here, amidst the grandeur of this iconic monument, we take a moment to capture the camaraderie and spirit of our group with a photograph. This snapshot not only serves as a memento of our trip but also symbolizes the unity and enduring spirit of our veterans, framed against the backdrop of a president who understood the deep costs of war.

With the image captured, our group moves on to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The reflective black granite wall, etched with the names of those who gave everything, is a somber and touching tribute. Its reflective surface allows veterans and visitors alike to see themselves alongside those names, bridging the past and the present.

From there, we transition to the Korean War Memorial, where the hauntingly lifelike statues of soldiers in battle formations move through a landscape that evokes the rugged terrain of Korea. This memorial stands as a powerful reminder of the ‘Forgotten War’ and the sacrifices made by those who fought in it. As we absorb the gravity of these sites, we are reminded of the vast spectrum of emotions and experiences that make up our shared military history.

Marine War Memorial —-> Arlington

A poignant reminder

As we chart our course towards Arlington National Cemetery, a hallowed ground steeped in honor and reverence, there’s a special detour we take to pay homage to a distinct group within our ranks: the Marines. En route to Arlington, we pause for a brief, yet deeply meaningful stay at the Marine Corps War Memorial. This monumental bronze statue, depicting the iconic flag raising at Iwo Jima, stands as a powerful testament to the valor, resilience, and brotherhood of the Marines throughout history. It’s a moment of profound pride for the Marines in our group, and a chance for all of us to reflect on the unwavering spirit and sacrifice of the ‘Few and the Proud’.

Upon our arrival at Arlington National Cemetery, one of the most poignant moments awaits us: the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Together, we watch in solemn silence as this meticulously executed ritual unfolds, a symbol of undying respect and dedication to those whose identities remain known only to the heavens.

With this deeply moving ceremony imprinted in our memories, we then journey deeper into the cemetery. The endless rows of white headstones stand as silent sentinels, guarding the memories of those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. Every step taken in Arlington is a step through history, a nod to the legacy of heroism and dedication that has shaped our country.

Arlington ———> Hotel

Food and celebration

As the day’s reflections give way to evening, our group reconvenes at the hotel for one of the most cherished moments of the journey: our banquet dinner. Set in an ambiance of camaraderie and gratitude, this celebratory feast offers everyone a chance to savor a delicious, hard-earned meal. But it’s more than just dining; it’s an evening dedicated to honor and recognition. Throughout the night, awards are presented to acknowledge the service, valor, and sacrifices of our veterans. Their stories, experiences, and legacies are celebrated, ensuring that their contributions are forever etched in our hearts. And to further elevate the evening, we’re joined by a distinguished guest speaker who shares insights, memories, and messages of appreciation, adding depth and resonance to the experiences of the day. It’s a fitting culmination, a blend of reflection, celebration, and anticipation for what the next day holds.

Fort McHenry ——-> Airport

Final morning

On our final morning, after a restful night’s sleep that rejuvenates both body and spirit, we gather for a hearty breakfast, sharing stories and relishing the camaraderie forged over the past days. Once breakfast is done, it’s time to pack our bags, making sure we’ve collected not just our belongings but also the myriad of memories and emotions this trip has imparted. However, before we bid farewell to this historical city, God permitting, we make one last poignant stop: Fort McHenry, the very location where Francis Scott Key penned ‘The Star-Spangled Banner.’ Standing on this hallowed ground, we’re reminded of the enduring spirit of our nation, the resilience and unity encapsulated in the anthem’s verses. Taking in this final sight and reflecting upon its significance, we then head to the airport, hearts full and spirits lifted, carrying with us the immeasurable gratitude and honor of a journey well-traveled

DC ———> Tucson

Welcome Home

After departing from the historic Fort McHenry, our group makes its way to the airport, a tangible sense of camaraderie in the air. As we board our flight, there’s a collective understanding that while this chapter of our journey concludes, the memories and bonds formed will last a lifetime. The anticipation of home grows with each passing mile. And as the plane touches down, we’re met with a sight that warms the heart: awaiting us are friends and family, their faces radiant with joy and pride. Their eager embraces and welcoming cheers serve as the perfect endnote, a poignant reminder that while we traveled far, the love and appreciation for our veterans remain ever close.

Watch a complete trip below