SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Honor Flight San Diego has officially brought their first airplane full of veterans back to the east coast after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. ABC 10News is traveling exclusively with the group.
The flight is carrying 94 veterans from World War II and the Korean War.
The first day of the trip consisted of an early-morning meeting at the airport, then the veterans boarding a decked-out plane filled with red, white and blue decorations.
During the five-hour flight, the veterans were surprised with Honor Flight’s version of “mail call.” For members of the military, mail call was a time when everyone got mail from their homes. Honor Flight recreated it by passing out envelopes filled with letters to each veteran. The letters were from friends, family and strangers, all with one message: thank you.
“I want you to know how proud I am of your life,” said one veteran as he read one of his letters.
“This is something I’ll remember until I go to the grave,” said another as he processed the emotional note from family.
That was just one of the surprises on the first day. There was also a water salute from the local fire department, where a firetruck doused the airplane as it taxied to the gate.
Saturday, the veterans will tour various war memorials around the D.C. area, then they return Sunday. The public is invited to help welcome the group back by arriving at Terminal 1 at 2 p.m. Sunday wearing red, white and blue.
Honor Flight is a nonprofit that relies on donations in order to send these veterans to D.C.