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Flights of Honor coming to Prague

Flights of Honor coming to Prague

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On display

A portion of the Flights of Honor exhibit on display inside The Friedhof Building in Columbus in June. The exhibit will be in Prague this weekend.

The Nebraska Flights of Honor exhibit will be in Prague over the weekend.

The exhibit showcases photos and videos from the Nebraska Flights of Honor that transported approximately 3,500 Nebraska veterans to Washington, D.C. between 2008 and 2019.

“It’s a collage of pictures in memory or recognition of all the veterans that did get to go to Washington, D.C. on those flights,” Nebraska American Legion Senior Vice Cmdr. Larry Mach said.

The exhibit will be held at the Prague National Hall between noon and 8 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and there will be no admission fee, Mach noted.

It primarily consists of nine 12-by-8 foot double-sided panels with pictures from each of the flights, including many of the veterans who participated in the trips.

“There are 10 televisions playing looped video from the flights and the homecomings, and then we have mannequins for World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the female flight. It’s quite the presentation,” organizer Bill Williams said.

Williams and his wife, Evonne, helped organize the Flights of Honor and the exhibit about them with Patriotic Productions of Omaha. Patriotic Productions is an organization dedicated to honoring and preserving the memories of U.S. veterans. More information about the exhibit can be found on the Patriotic Productions website.

The exhibit is currently touring around the state. In June, it stopped at The Friedhof Building in Columbus.

Many of the stops on the tour have been canceled due to COVID-19, Williams said. He said he’s glad Prague went on with the show.

“Normally they have Beer Barrel Days in Prague. Well, this year they canceled them because of the virus. I called Bill to cancel it but he wanted to bring it,” Mach said.

There were 13 Nebraska Flights of Honor altogether, Williams noted. There were seven World War II flights, two for Korean War veterans, two for Vietnam War veterans, one all-female flight and one flight for Purple Heart recipients from the Iraq War and Afghanistan War.

All told, Williams said the veterans who went on the Flights of Honor represented 385 towns around the state of Nebraska.

“He (Bill) always reached out to local legion posts for donation. The Prague Legion Post was always very supportive and always sent him a great deal of money,” Mach added.

The flights included veterans from Columbus, David City, Rising City, Brainard, North Bend and Schuyler. About eight veterans from Prague went on the flights, he said.

“We had some pancake breakfasts to raise money and we had some raffles. That’s how we saved the money to send these guys on the trips. It was a good deal,” Mach said.

Mach said the veterans spent a day visiting the National World War I Memorial, the National World War II Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery.

“There are a lot of guys and people that I hope come out to see the pictures and everything else,” Mach said.

Molly Hunter is a reporter for The Banner-Press. Reach her via email at molly.hunter@lee.net.

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