MARION, IL (KFVS) - A group of veterans from southern Illinois have returned from Washington, D.C.
The Honor Flight left from the Veterans Airport of Southern Illinois in Marion, Ill. around 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday, October 17.
Veterans were given a warm welcome home Tuesday night around 8:30 p.m. One veteran, Thomas Levandoski said he couldn't believe so many people came out to support their trip home.
"It's incredible and what's making it really incredible is coming through all these people out here. I've never been through anything like that in my life, it's wonderful. It just makes me feel...like i can't believe it," Levandoski said. "I seen some of my friends from the elks club and i didn't even know they even knew i went and they had big signs over there showing my name and everything."
The group visited the World War II Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, and took a tour of the United States Capital. While the veterans enjoyed all parts of the tours, it was the War memorial's that they remember the most. It allowed Father and daughter, Jim and Debbie Word to talk about some memories Jim had from the war. Often time they were not pleasant, and quite emotional.
"Well, we hauled ammo up to the lines at night, 4 of us," said Jim as he chokes down tears. "I was always number 4 driver, that night they put my best buddy in my spot. I was number one, I lost him."
He says the memories will always stick with him. The emotions always accompanying them.
After lunch, the group stopped at the memorials to the U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, and the Marine Corp Memorial.
The final stop will be at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier before the group headed back to Reagan National Airport to head home.