Local World War II veterans will travel to Washington, D.C., on April 10 to see the World War II Memorial, thanks to Gahanna-Jefferson students and the Gahanna Rotary.

Local World War II veterans will travel to Washington, D.C., on April 10 to see the World War II Memorial, thanks to Gahanna-Jefferson students and the Gahanna Rotary.

"It's an amazing experience, not only for the veterans, but also for the guardians who go with them, especially being at the World War II Memorial with people of that time period who were at the Battle of the Bulge," said Tom Gregory, Gahanna Lincoln High School's WGLH-TV television and speech teacher.

This is the second year Gregory's television class has raised money for the Honor Flight Network. Two years ago, the class became involved after students interviewed people in the Honor Flight program. Each flight costs $12,000 and the students raised enough to sponsor one flight two years ago. This year, they partnered with the Gahanna Rotary to raise another $12,000 to sponsor a flight.

"Every day, 1,000 World War II veterans die," Gregory said. "That's why it's so important to do what we can now."

The Honor Flight Network was the idea of Earl Morse, a physician's assistant in Springfield who worked with a lot of veterans. During his work, he came to realize that many veterans would never be able to visit the memorial, according to information from the Honor Flight Network's Web site.

The first flight was in May 2005. Since then, the network has gained sponsors, including Southwest Airlines, and there are 71 network hubs in 30 states. The network has been able to transport 35,996 veterans of World War II, Korea and Vietnam to the memorials in Washington.

Gregory said he would be on the April 10 flight this year as one of the guardians. Five of the veterans traveling to Washington are Gahanna residents:

James Abraham, who was a brigadier general in the U.S. Army, serving in Europe.

Pat Patterson, who was an infantryman who also worked in communications for the Army.

Harold Schnaudt, who served in the Navy in Asia.

Jim Thompson, who served in the Coast Guard in WWII and was in the Korean War. He is the founder of the Gahanna Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Frank Treadway, who served in the Navy, mostly in Asia and Japan.

Gregory is taking four students on the trip as well: Gahanna seniors Katherine Emoff, Rob Roll and Chelsea Savage. The fourth student, senior Samantha Farley, is involved with the Gahanna Rotary. Rotary members on the flight are Marjorie Calloway, Rick Trejo and Rebecca Wigal. Educators attending include Todd Keenan, a teacher and Interact club adviser; Ed Morris, a janitor at Blacklick Elementary School; and school board member Charley Wise.

Gregory said the flight would leave Columbus at 5 a.m. and return at 8:30 p.m. April 10. The flight goes from Columbus to Baltimore, where the veterans catch a bus and ride to the capital. On the ride back, they will experience "mail call" and have an opportunity to read letters from students in the Gahanna-Jefferson school district.

"Most of them came back (after WWII) and started working. They never got so much as a thank you," Gregory said. "The whole trip is to thank the veterans all along the way."

Those interested in applying to participate in the Honor Flight Network as a veteran, guardian or volunteer should call (937) 521-2400 or visit www.honorflight.org.