Taking a Flight for Honor

Honor Flight Tri-State is in a race against time.

The small, all-volunteer group is trying to get as many World War II and Korean War veterans from the area to Washington D.C. to see the memorials built in their honor while they still can.

Of the 13 million men and women who served in World War II, fewer than two million remain and hundreds pass into history every day. And 60 years after the Korean War ended, veterans of that conflict aren’t getting younger.

Since 2006, Honor Flight Tri-State, one of 105 local chapters, has taken about 1,900 area veterans to Washington to see the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery, the Iwo Jima Memorial, the Air Force Memorial, the Lincoln, Vietnam and Korean War memorials.

For some like Arnold Thall, 82, of Reading, it was the first time to the nation’s capital.

“Yes, I was impressed, particularly by the Iwo Jima Memorial,” said Thall, who was one of 72 veterans on the May 21 trip; the second of five Honor Flight charters from Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport planned this year. The next is Aug. 20.

Cheryl Popp, Honor Flight Tri-State director, says the all-expenses paid, daylong trips are a simple way of saying “thank you” to the veterans. Each of the veterans is accompanied by a guardian, often a relative or friend, who pays his or her own way.

Their job is to look out for the veterans and make sure their trip is as enjoyable as possible. They also might learn a thing or two from “these two-legged walking history books,” as Popp calls the veterans.

“Once you’ve been a guardian, you’re bitten by the veteran’s bug,” says Cheviot Mayor Sam Keller, an Honor Flight board member, who’s been on more than 40 of the trips.

Popp, a private pilot who managed the former Blue Ash Air Show, runs the Honor Flight trips with military precision. The volunteers handle a myriad of tasks, from obtaining medical clearance forms for each veteran, to organizing friends and family for a late night welcome home at the airport.

Each Honor Flight costs about $65,000 for the charter flight, food and water and bus transportation in D.C. Fund-raising is an ongoing challenge and Honor Flight Tri-State has a handful of corporate sponsors.

This year the accounting firm of Clark, Schaefer and Hackett, marking its 75th anniversary, pledged to send 75 veterans across Ohio on Honor Flights. Emery Federal Credit Union‘s Community Foundation sponsored the May 21 flight. The Simply Money Foundation, created by independent financial planners Ed Finke and Nathan Bachrach, co-hosts of the popular “Simply Money” radio program, offers comprehensive, written financial plans in exchange for $600 tax-deductible donations to Honor Flight.

Finke, an Honor Flight board member who regularly accompanies the flights, said he’s surprised more companies don’t support the effort.

As he told the departing veterans in May: “You have all set the bar for the rest of us.”

For information on Honor Flight Tri-State call 513-277-9626 or go to:


Have a ball with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra as Louis Langrée joins the ensemble in his first season as music director with six weekend performances throughout the 2013-2014 season. His conductorship kicks off Nov. 8 with a performance featuring Aaron Copland’s Lincoln Portrait, in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the Gettysburg Address. Dr. Maya Angelou will accompany the Orchestra onstage with a reading as a part of Freedom Week in collaboration with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and the Cincinnati Museum Center.

The Orchestra will host several solo artists and small ensembles, including world-renowned violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter and Cincinnati’s own Bryce Dessner of The National. Additionally, guest conductors, including past CSO music directors, will direct many of this season’s subscription concerts and members of the Orchestra will also host several workshops and master classes.

One City, One Symphony returns after a successful 2012 debut with Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 and Davide Penitente, a relatively obscure Mozart piece. A modern approach to symphonic performance, OCOS allows listeners to get together at participating coffee shops, churches, schools and libraries for listening parties. The program also encourages social media participation with event specific Twitter tags and Facebook discussion boards.

Beginning its third year with conductor John Morris Russell, the Pops Orchestra has a lot in store this season.. The Orchestra will perform its annual Holiday Pops concert and several “Lollipops” concerts for families, which range from “Circus Sounds” to “Superheroes.”
There are also family-friendly matinees including “Pixar in Concert” and “The Final Frontier” with Star Trek legend George Takei. 

To celebrate their 50th birthday, the Cincinnati Ballet’s 2013-2014 season focuses on the future instead of the past featuring local and world premiere performances by cutting edge choreographers. The Kaplan New Works series alone includes four world premieres, and that’s just the first in a long list of upcoming productions.

The Cincinnati Ballet also published its first commemorative book by critic and partner David Lyman, Cincinnati Ballet Celebrates 50 ($75). “Our book captures those great moments and reveals anecdotes and images that have never been released to the public,” says Ginger Johnson, manager of strategic initiatives.

The book highlights the ballet’s remarkable achievements over the past half-century with over 160 pictures.

In December, The Nutcracker returns to the Aronoff Center with music performed by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. The Sugar Plum Parade gives patrons the opportunity to see the dancers, costumes and sets up close at some of the performances.

The crown jewel of the season, the world premiere of King Arthur’s Camelot, comes to the stage in mid-February and is choreographed by CEO and Artistic Director Victoria Morgan.

BalletMet Columbus joins the company in two productions this season. The magical and romantic Swan Lake features updated choreography as the two ballet companies perform in Columbus and Cincinnati. And BalletMet returns in March for the production of George Balanchine’s energetic Symphony in C.