INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WTHI) – Out of 16 million men and women who served our military during World War II, only 1.6 million are still alive today.
Many of those who defended this nation in battle have never seen our nation’s capital.
One non-profit organization The Honor Flight, wants to change that before it’s too late.
178 veterans from across central Indiana loaded onto buses which took them to their Honor Flight to Washington D.C.
“It makes the time that you spent away from home…it brings everything, you might say tie up into a little packed, and you say ‘this is it,'” World War II veteran David Dragon told us.
Indy Honor Flight packs a lot of sights or these veterans to see in one day.
Amazingly enough, the trip isn’t the only highlight.
Indy Honor Flight has one more trick up their sleeves for our veterans as they arrive.
It is a hero’s welcome that these veterans didn’t receive when they came home from war. They introduce each veteran, and then a packed house welcomes them with a thundering applause.
This is followed by the warm embraces of their families.
Indy Honor Flight leaves nothing out of this celebration. Each veteran gets welcomed with a smooch on the cheek and a complimentary print of the group photo taken in Washington.
Their families, some members who weren’t even alive when their veteran went to war, couldn’t contain their excitement for their loved one. Or their love for their heroes.
“Oh, that was really great. I mean…it was unbelievable,” World War II veteran Ethan Dozier said. Dozier was awarded the Purple Heart during the war. “I was really surprised and glad when I saw them.”
For Michael, seeing the Vietnam Memorial went as he predicted.
“For some unknown reason, the first thing I saw was a name I didn’t really want to look at,” Michael said.
When all was said and done, the Honor Flight blew these veterans away.
The Indianapolis hub of the Honor Flight is one of four hubs in Indiana and one of 130 across the nation.
To learn more about the Honor Flight, click here.