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Honor Flight San Diego returns from trip, veterans reflect on experience

Posted at 6:27 PM, Oct 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-03 21:27:54-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - After a busy weekend, Honor Flight San Diego wrapped up their first trip back to Washington D.C. after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.

Friday, 94 veterans and their guardians traveled to our Nation’s capitol. Saturday, they had a full day of visiting a long list of memorials, including the Women’s Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial, the World War II Memorial, the Marine Corps Memorial and the Air Force Memorial. They also made a stop at Arlington National Cemetery to watch the changing of the guards and also spent time exploring the National Navy Yard Museum.

Sunday, the group traveled back to San Diego and was surprised by hundreds of people cheering them on for an emotional welcome home.

As the veterans wrapped up their trip, they reflected on the highlights of the trip.

“Everyone made you feel like hey I know you, we’re not strangers,” said Daniel Smith, a veteran of both the Korean War and Vietnam War.

That sentiment was echoed by other veterans, who agreed that one of the most special parts of the trip was spending time with people who share similar experiences.

“I’m going to think back about all the camaraderie about all these fine men and women that came with me on this trip, I’ll remember that for a long time,” said Anton Burckhard, a World War II veteran.

ABC 10News evening anchor Kimberly Hunt was on the trip as her father’s guardian. Her father Harry, a Korean War veteran, also agreed about the bond.

“It gives you an attitude of patriotism that you may have been lacking a little bit in before you came here,” said Harry Hunt.

Honor Flight San Diego is a nonprofit that relies on donations in order to send these veterans to D.C. Each trip costs about a quarter of a million dollars so organizers say they are in desperate need of donations.