Honor Flight from Marion, IL to Washington, D.C.

"It was the greatest day of my life probably," World War II veteran Henry Manfredini said. (Source: KFVS)
"It was the greatest day of my life probably," World War II veteran Henry Manfredini said. (Source: KFVS)
The returning honor fight (Source: KFVS)
The returning honor fight (Source: KFVS)

MARION, IL (KFVS) - An Honor Flight scheduled for April 24 took off for Washington, D.C. around 6:30 a.m. The plane landed around 8:17 p.m.

The 55 veterans are from the area around Marion, Illinois.

Each veteran upon returning got their name read aloud over a loudspeaker.

"It was the greatest day of my life probably," World War II veteran Henry Manfredini said. "It was the greatest time I ever had. There was so much stuff (so see). And, I got a big surprise. Two of my granddaughters from Denver came in and surprised me at the Korean Monument."

Talking about the monument, he said it was hard to describe. "Very emotional," he said. "You see the sacrifice these people made for this country. I didn't see any combat, but I know what they went through. It's heartwarming. Very touching."

Said Ed Smith, who's in charge of training volunteers said "Okay, each flight keeps getting better. As the bus captain, you really get to meet all of the people, instead of just getting to meet a particular veteran. I met 40-50 people. I got to know all about them. It's just fabulous."

Smith said Arlington National Cemetery stood out the most to him and all of the other veterans. Smith said every branch of the service is there, and everyone knows someone that is in there.

"It's so touching to see these guys, how humble they are," said Smith. "It's a quiet very solemn place, almost holy. We had a good time there. Everyone was standing at attention, even if you were in a wheelchair, you were still sitting straight."

This trip comes at no cost to the veterans. It is paid for by donations from corporate sponsors and private donors.

Download the KFVS News app: iPhone | Android

Family and friends came out early Tuesday morning to see them off.

The vets visited the World War two memorial, Korean War Memorial, Arlington Cemetery and many more monuments.

Copyright 2018 KFVS. All rights reserved.