Washington DC (KGTV) – After being grounded for two years due to the pandemic, the Honor Flight San Diego’s first trip to Washington DC was filled with memories and emotions.
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The day began at Arlington National Cemetery for the Changing of the Guard.
The women on the trip made a detour to the Women in the Army Memorial, where all six received special honors. World War II veteran Ruth Gunter who was a Navy Wave received special recognition for her work and for being over 100 (she is just under 102).
Next, the tour went to Iwo Jima, a memorial dedicated to members of the Marine Corps. There, three Marines started sharing stories, saying that even though they were strangers, they didn’t want to.
“We are all Marines, all Marines, all Marines,” they said one after the other, one adding “we don’t need any other obligations.”
After that, they stopped at the Air Force Memorial, where massive arrows shoot up into the sky.
“Bring back memories, for sure,” said Vernon Steinman, an Air Force veteran.
Next, the 94 veterans on the trip stopped at the WWII Memorial. There are 26 WWII veterans on the trip.
“It brings out what you feel deep down. Sometimes it’s so deep that you don’t even tell people about it,” said Carl Williams, referring to a war that took place a lifetime ago, but which he still remembers well.
After that, the veterans had time to explore the area where the Lincoln, Vietnam and Korean War memorials are located. The Korean War Memorial is undergoing renovations, but veteran Harry Hunt said it was still powerful to see.
“Which is so amazing to me, all these young guys, a lot of them didn’t come back. That’s what’s so horrible about it, ”Hunt said as he walked along the wall with his daughter, ABC 10News anchor Kimberly Hunt.
Edd Robinson, a Vietnam veteran, received a flag in front of his memorial. As he walked along the wall with names engraved on it, he commented on the number of names on the wall.
The last stop of the day took place at the National Museum of the US Navy. Honor Flight San Diego has been given exclusive access to the museum, which is located on a Navy base and is generally not open to the public. Inside, two Navy veterans bonded over a time-share on a ship.
“It’s great. I’m happy for you. Thank you for everything you’ve done for us young people,” they said to each other, shaking hands.
On Saturday, veterans will visit various war memorials in the DC area and then return on Sunday. The public is invited to help welcome the group by arriving at Terminal 1 at 2 p.m. Sunday wearing red, white and blue.
Honor Flight San Diego is a nonprofit organization that relies on donations to send these veterans to DC