- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 4, 2015

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Children and wives of fallen soldiers who served in Afghanistan and Iraq are being honored in a flight to Lincoln.

A plane carrying 22 mothers and 35 children is scheduled to depart from Omaha’s Eppley Airfield and arrive at the Lincoln Airport Saturday morning as part of the Gold Star Kids Honor Flight. The flight is organized by Patriotic Productions, an Omaha nonprofit that has organized trips to Washington, D.C., for World War II and Korean War veterans.

Organizers say they are planning a boisterous pep rally and would like for people to meet the mothers and children in Lincoln with the same enthusiasm.

The children, who range in age from 4 to 16, will be entertained by soldiers at the Nebraska Guard’s Camp Ashland, while their mothers are pampered with massages, manicures and a catered white-tablecloth dinner before they leave for Lincoln.

Once in Lincoln, the passengers will then be taken Memorial Stadium, where they will watch the University of Nebraska’s football game against Michigan State University. The stadium will feature an exhibit that honors 90 Nebraska natives who died in combat or from injuries suffered during the wars, and the families will get the opportunity to see the panels of their husbands and fathers.

The families will also be given a tour the governor’s mansion before the game.

Bill and Evonne Williams, who run the nonprofit, hope hundreds of people turn up to greet the families and fans traveling to the game or tailgating parties will make a detour and head to the airport to join in as well.

Bill Williams says, “People don’t think about the children of the fallen.”

According to Williams, the idea for the Gold Star Kids Honor Flight came to him and his wife after the University of Nebraska-Lincoln football office contacted them in July asking for their help to identify WWII or Korean War veterans to recognize during a game. The couple suggested to officials that the widows and children of military personnel killed in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001 could be honored, and they agreed.

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