WASHINGTON (WLFI) – They’re a part of a generation facing the challenges of old age, and for some World War II and Korean War veterans, Monday’s Honor Flight would mark their last mission. Over 85 veterans traveled to Washington, D.C.
For some it was their first time to our nation’s capital. However, for all who went, it was a day filled with many surprises, stories and of course, many emotions.
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“It’s just remarkable,” World War II veteran Gerald Hart said. “The people we get to see, and the things we are getting for our service. It’s just wonderful.”
“I was honored to tell you the truth,” World War II veteran Cicely Ward said. “They were recognizing us and appreciating not only what I did, but what everybody else did.”
Monday morning, 86 World War II and Korean War veterans visited our nation’s capitol as part of this year’s first Lafayette Honor Flight to Washington, D.C.
The welcome was warm as they landed at the Reagan National Airport. Several hundred strangers were there clapping and cheering on the veterans as they got off the plane.
“It is really fantastic,” World War II veteran James Shafer said. “I don’t believe I’ve ever seen anything like this.”
The first stop was the World War II Memorial. For some, not even camouflage could hide the tears.
“See, I’ve got a tear rolling down my cheek right now,” Shafer explained.
After making a visit to the World War II Memorial, it was then time to honor those who fought in the Korean war.
“It’s really hard to explain,” World War II and Korean War veteran Nubert Eudy said. “But, it’s really been earth-moving I’d say.”
For many, Monday was a day to make new memories. However, it was also a day to say goodbye to some buddies lost long ago.
“Thankfully I didn’t have to see it,” Eudy said. “I don’t know how some of the guys could go day in and day out with their friends being slaughtered and having to see it.”
“They had a lot of mothers and fathers looking for them and they never saw them come home,” Shafer explained.
The last stop of the day was to witness the changing of the guard at Arlington National Cemetery.
On the flight home, more memories were made. This time in the form of letters from family and friends.
As daylight faded and the day came to an end, the veterans said these new memories won’t fade. They said they’ll remember this final mission forever.
The next Honor Flight out of Lafayette is scheduled for September.
To find out more about supporting Honor Flight, click here.