ST. LOUIS – Dozens of veterans are taking a very special trip to Washington, D.C., on Tuesday as part of the latest Greater St. Louis Honor Flight.
It was an early wake-up call for the vets and their sponsors as their Southwest flight left at 5:00 a.m. from Lambert St. Louis International Airport. However, it was worth it, with many people looking forward to being a part of the experience.
The veterans and others sang God Bless America just before boarding the plane.
A total of 58 veterans were on the 103rd Greater St. Louis Honor Flight. There are four veterans from World War II, including a 100-year-old vet, 15 from Korea, and 39 Vietnam vets on this particular flight.
The vets on board are decorated with many awards for their military service to the country. Those awards include eight veterans who received the Bronze Star for valor and four who received the Purple Heart for wounds suffered while on active duty. The group will visit the war memorials in Washington and Arlington Cemetery, then return to St. Louis tonight.
George Kinsey is among the veterans on the flight. He served in both Korea and Vietnam and received a Purple Heart after being wounded in Vietnam.
“It’s an honor to be included on this. People are finally realizing that veterans are for the country,” Kinsey shared. “We’re not against anybody; we’re serving our country. Fortunately, the country finally came around and realized that.”
96-year-old John Lauren served during World War II and is on the flight as well.
“I think it’s nice what they’re doing because a lot of people have been through hell,” Lauren shared. “So it gives them some pleasure and satisfaction.”
The group is expected to return around 8:00 p.m. to a real hero’s welcome at Lambert.
Fredbird and Louie are scheduled to be there, along with many loved ones of the veterans, to welcome them all home after a very special day.