71 South Florida veterans flown to Washington D.C. for honor flight

FORT LAUDERDALE-HOLLYWOOD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, FLA. (WSVN) - A group of South Florida veterans went to the nation’s capital to visit the museums and monuments made in their honor.

A total of 71 veterans departed on a Spirit Airlines plane from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Saturday to visit Washington D.C. as a part of Honor Flight South Florida.

The group, ranging between the ages of 69 and 99, is made up of veterans from World War II, the Korean War and and the Vietnam War.

However, many of them said those who lost their lives are the true heroes.

“A guy from Fort Lauderdale named Alexander … I knew him in high school. The heroes they called were the guys who didn’t come back,” said Stewart Newman, a World War II veteran.

The honored guests were escorted to Arlington National Cemetery and witnessed the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The veterans also visited the World War II and Vietnam memorials before they were greeted back home by a crowd of supporters.

Army nurse Reyna Macaltao took care of the injured soldiers in Vietnam. She said she remembers the injuries so many sustained.

“I never forget that. I said, ‘Aww.’ It was so sad to hear them cry out. There was so many of them, so many,” she said.

Many who haven’t served are honored to hear the stories about those who gave so much.

“Just to listen to them talking, it’s really fascinating how much they remember at their age,” said Spirit Airlines employee Tony Velez. “I get to take a piece of that with me.”

Spirit Airlines said they plan on hosting at least four more honor flights in 2019.

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