GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The day began before the sun came up. 65 veterans and their families excitedly shuffled into the terminal at Gerald R. Ford International Airport for the trip they deserved.
Honor Flight is a network of non-profit organizations that, free-of-charge, fly veterans and a family member to Washington, D.C. for the day so they can take in the memorials and monuments and be with one another.
Leaving from Ford International to fanfare, they arrive in D.C. to much the same. Veterans of the Vietnam, Korean, and Second World War came along – some setting foot in the nation’s capital for the very first time.
The trip whisks them off to each of the conflict’s memorials, with a few side stops along the way to other monuments and Arlington National Cemetery. When they come home, it’s to more fanfare and is the warm welcome so many of those vets were robbed of when returning home from war.
“It’s overwhelming, it’s overwhelming to me,” said Jim Neymeiyer, a Korean War veteran on the trip. “I wonder if that was all in vain. But today I feel great. I think it’s fantastic.”
“I know how much they’ve given to protect our freedom and each and every one of them is as important as the other I don’t care what their assignment was or what they did,” said Jim “Doc” McCloughan, a Medal of Honor recipient who was also on the flight. “To see some of those people and to be amongst them is just very humbling.”
For more information on the Mid Michigan Honor Flight that took local vets last week, click here.
For additional information on the Honor Flight Network, click here.