ST. LOUIS – The 94th Greater St. Louis Honor Flights returned to St. Louis Lambert International Airport around 8 p.m. Tuesday night. When they landed, the veterans were greeted with honors from every service branch, a bagpipe ceremony, cheers, a parade, and excited family members waiting with signs and greetings.
The honor flight took off early Tuesday morning. Onboard were veterans who served in World War II, the Korean or Vietnam wars, and they were all able to visit their memorials.
Those on board also watched the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
The veterans laid a wreath to honor Wentzville native, Marine Lance Cpl. Jared Schmitz at the Marine Corps Memorial. He was killed last week at an attack at Kabul’s airport, just days before the deadline to withdraw troops out of Afghanistan.
This was the first honor flight that’s left St. Louis since March 3, 2020. Fifteen St. Louis area veterans were supposed to be on board Tuesday’s flight but had passed away in the time since the honor flights were postponed due to the pandemic.
There’s a backlog of veterans waiting to go on an Honor Flight because of the pandemic. Due to this, the organization is setting up two more large-scale honor flights from Lambert on Oct 5 and Nov 2. Usually the honor flights take about 22 veterans, the large-scale flights are able to charter a flight and carry closer to 60 veterans.