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Southwest Airlines Provide $1.2 Million in Free Travel for American Veterans

Travelers Today       By    Katie McFadden

Updated: Jul 18, 2012 07:51 AM EDT

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Southwest Airlines has announced that they will provide $1.2 million in travel to World War II veterans for free.

The airline will provide travel to over 3,000 American Veterans. The airline is providing the travel through 2015 to help Veterans visit  Veteran memorials in the nation's capital, Washington D.C..The move is part of Southwest Airlines's commitment to their role as the official airline of the Honor Flight Network.

"Southwest Airlines is proud to continue our support of Honor Flight and to have the opportunity to give back to the people who have fought to protect our Freedoms," said Linda Rutherford, Southwest Airlines Vice President of Communication and Strategic Outreach in a press release. "Every Veteran should have the opportunity to visit the memorial that was created for him or her, and we are honored to be a part of fulfilling this dream."

Southwest Airlines has been working with the Honor Flight Network since 2009. HFN is a nonprofit that works to fulfill the dreams of veterans and help them travel to Washington, D.C. absolutely free. The group has been sending Veterans to see the memorials there since 2005.Since then, the network has transported more than 81,000 veterans to see the memorials that mean so much to them. With 800 to 900 Veterans passing away each day, the group is trying to help these brave men and women see the things that honor them at some point in their life.

The airline has been a big supporter of military personnel for several years. Over the past four years, Southwest donated over $2 million to Honor Flight which helped more than 4,500 WWII Veterans travel to Washington D.C. to see the memorials dedicated to them.

For some examples of the Veterans that Southwest has helped, read their blog Nuts About Southwest.

"Because of Southwest Airlines' generosity and renewed sponsorship, thousands of World War II and terminally ill Veterans will continue to have the opportunity to see the memorials dedicated to honor their service and sacrifice in Washington, D.C.," said Chairman of the Honor Flight Network, James McLaughlin. "The most often heard comment we hear from the Veterans at the end of their Honor Flight experience is that this has been one of the greatest days of their lives. That is all the reward we need."

This isn't the only time that Southwest has helped those who serve the country. The National Guard and Reserve recognizes the airline's support of hiring National Guard and Reserve members.The airline was also named the  Top Military Employer by GI Jobs Magazine and received recognition for naming the month of November as "Military Heroes Month."

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