Trip of a Lifetime: Area Vets Leave on Honor Flight

In a city filled with them, many call The World War Two Memorial in Washington D.C. the best of them all.

And now 103 North Central Wisconsin veterans have seen it, thanks to the Never Forgotten Honor Flight.

It sends vets to the nation's capital, free of charge to see the memorials dedicated to them.

They may be the people who protected the world against tyranny, but World War Two veterans have to check in and go through security at the airport just like everyone else.

Before the plane is even off the ground, the Honor Flight is bringing back memories for Merwin Bunker.

He says, "It was hot and boring because I was on a Navy ship in the boiler room."

And at this point they're not quite sure what the day ahead will bring.

"I've been to the Vietnam Memorial before, I haven't been to the World War Two Memorial, but I'm looking forward to it," says Dick Bruno.

Once on the runway, the vets get a tribute normally reserved for retiring pilots - fire trucks spraying water over the departing plane.

The veterans do what everyone else does on flights- they sleep, look out the window, talk, sit alone with their thoughts, and do a little flirting with the flight attendants.

One of the guardians, the people along to take care of the vets, reminisces over a picture of his parents, and dog tags from his father, a World War Two vet.

At the airport in D.C., wheelchairs and workers to push them, line the jet way for the vets who need a little help getting around.

After a smooth flight filled with anticipation, the veterans are given a greeting with open arms, one to bring back memories of the first time they came home from the war.

Some of the people saying welcome and thanks to these heroes are volunteers.

Other, current members of the military say they also join in, because they say life was more difficult for their predecessors in uniform.

"Even though we've all been to combat, there's was tougher, we have technology they didn't. We can't compare to the things they went
through and the sacrifices they made," says TSGT Chris Johnson with the Air Force.

But no matter who's doing the cheering, the gratitude from the current generation is not lost on the members of the greatest generation.

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