Thursday, September 24, 2015

Cherokee Warrior Flight Departs Monday

Army veteran Ivan Hembree, 82, of Bunch and his three brothers will be among the Cherokee veterans who will be on the Cherokee Warrior Flight when it leaves Monday for Washington, D.C.

For the second straight year the Cherokee Nation is funding a Cherokee Warrior Flight for veterans to see the national memorials dedicated in honor of their service. On Monday it will take eight Cherokee World War II veterans and three Korean War veterans to Washington, D.C., to tour the World War II Memorial (above) , Korean War Veterans Memorial, Arlington Cemetery and other sites.

Among the flight passengers this year are a Pearl Harbor survivor, four veteran brothers from Adair County and two veteran brothers who live in different states reuniting for the trip. The 11 on board also represent all military branches and range in age from 82 to 94.  Hembree is a Korean War veteran.

Cherokee Nation Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, a Navy Vietnam veteran, said, "The purpose of this trip is to honor Cherokee war veterans. We want these brave men and others like them who served to defend our collective freedoms to know that their sacrifices are appreciated, and they will never be forgotten. I was fortunate to travel with the inaugural Cherokee Warrior Flight and was deeply moved by the outpouring of support and thanks our Cherokee veterans received from total strangers as we traveled to Washington D.C. They are humble men who are real-life heroes, and they deserve all the respect we can give them."

Area veterans participating on the 2015 Cherokee Warrior Flight include the following:

World War II
*Army veteran Virgil Carter, 88, of Tahlequah
*Army veteran Monroe Hembree, 93, of Stilwell

Korean War
*Army veteran Dan Hembree, 90, of Westville
*Air Force veteran Alfred Hembree, 84, of Westville
*Army veteran Ivan Hembree, 82, of Bunch

At 9:30 a.m. on Monday a send-off ceremony by Cherokee Nation Businesses employees will be held at Hard Rock Hotel for the veterans as they leave for the Tulsa airport. On Tuesday the group will visit the World War II Memorial and take a tour of other monuments. On Wednesday, the veterans will tour the U.S. Capitol and arrive back in Tulsa that evening.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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