MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, FLA. (WSVN) - Dozens of war veterans in South Florida went on a special flight to the nation’s capital, Saturday.
Miami International Airport, in partnership with Honor Flight South Florida and Miami Air, gave more than 70 local World War II and Korean War vets a look back in time. The group flew from MIA to check out military sites in Washington, D.C.
Participants were accompanied by guardians, some of whom are relatives. “They took us to all the sites that mean anything to this country,” said veteran Jerome Gehman. “They were just tremendous all the way through.”
“Everybody treated us just like royalty. I didn’t know what to expect at all, and they just overwhelmed me with generosity and kindness,” said veteran Nancy Georges. “It was really a marvelous experience.”
Fellow vet Donald Bradley marveled at the logistics behind these flights. “It’s unbelievable. The number of people involved and the activities is just – it’s overwhelming,” he said.
For participants like Georges, this was the first time they made the emotional trip. “It was just one surprise after another,” she said. “I knew what D.C. was like and all the monuments, but I’d never been to see them with other veterans, and it just had a lot more significance for me. It was a very tender moment.”
When the group returned, they were greeted by law enforcement officers, airport employees and other members of the community. 7News cameras captured bagpipe players performing “America the Beautiful” as they marched down the terminal.
“No other country does for their veterans what the USA does,” said veteran Jerome Gehman. “It was a beautiful day. They gave us salutes when we left … and they gave us salutes when we came back, with about a hundred flashing lights.”
Participants also received personalized letters filled with well wishes from people thanking them for their service.
The trip is part of Honor Flight South Florida, a program dedicated to transporting veterans to D.C. to visit the memorials dedicated to honor their service and sacrifices.
The vets said this is one moment they will cherish for the rest of their lives. “Overwhelming. It’s hard to put it into words,” said Bradley.
This is the 15th Honor Flight held locally, and the fourth hosted by MIA.
If you want more information on donating to Honor Flight South Florida, click here.
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