Cambridge veteran Leonard Palmer takes Honor Flight to Washington, D.C.

Sandy Hull
Hosted by Honor Flight, Leonard Palmer of Cambridge toured Washington, D.C., this summer.

    Leonard Palmer of Cambridge spent Monday and Tuesday, June 28 and 29, in Washington D.C. with several other World War II Veterans touring a number of memorials including the World War II Memorial which was completed and dedicated in May of 2004.

    Modern Woodmen of America partnered with the Honor Flight of the Quad Cities and sent a flight of veterans on the special trip aboard a private plane. Modern Woodmen Honor Flight of the Quad Cities included 105 Modern Woodmen members, who were World War II veterans, 55 Guardians and some honor flight representatives according to Palmer.

    “I have been a member of Modern Woodmen for years,” Palmer stated. “They contacted me last August and asked me if I was interested. It was a fabulous trip, a trip I will never, ever forget.”

     The group visited several of the memorials, including the World War II Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, Korean Memorial, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers and several more. They also toured some museums including the National Museum of Air and Space, the National Museum of History and others.

    “We were honored by the Modern Woodmen during a special presentation at the group’s annual convention Tuesday morning,” he stated. “They took care of everything we needed. I didn’t have to take my wallet out of my pocket once while I was gone. Every meal and every minute was planned out for us and we stayed in one of the nicest hotels I have ever been in.”

    Palmer is a World War II Navy Veteran, who served from the spring of 1943 through the spring of 1946.

    The nonstop charter flight departed on Monday, June 28, from the Quad City International Airport and flew to Washington, D.C., returning on Tuesday, June 29.          

    “The 105 veterans aboard the plane were from a 100-mile radius of the Quad Cities,” Palmer stated. “Visiting the World War II Memorial was very moving.”

    The Modern Woodmen Honor Flight of the Quad Cities was the first flight in the Quad Cities to be fully sponsored by one organization. Modern Woodmen’s home office is in Rock Island.

    The intention of the flight was to honor many local and regional heroes who were selfless in their military duty with a free trip to visit their memorial.

    Honor Flight of the Quad Cities operates on donations from organizations and individuals. Volunteers of all kinds are needed to plan and coordinate the flight event, and guardians were trained to assist the veterans throughout the day while in Washington, D.C.

    After returning home from the service, Palmer said he realized he wanted to be his own boss and bought a gas station from his father-in-law, D. P. Robinson, which he ran for 42 years before retiring and selling it to his son, Scott Palmer, who has run it for the last 22 or 23 years. Robbie’s Service Station is located on Court Street in Cambridge.