West Virginia Honor Flight: Part 1 - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

West Virginia Honor Flight: Part 1

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The Honor Flight aims to get World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam veterans to visit their memorials in Washington D.C.

Their most recent flight took off from Bridgeport this past weekend and it was one nearly 100 veterans were anxiously awaiting for.

91 veterans and 55 guardians took part in the flight on May 10. Out of those veterans, 50 served during World War II, and 41 served in Korea

 Prior to take off, no one knew what to expect.

"Who knows what they are going to do when they see these monuments. I mean, they are going to cry, they are going to laugh. It's going to be emotional," said Chuck Haney, Honor Flight Guardian.

But they knew exactly what they wanted to see.

"I am anxious to see the walls and all of the veteran stuff," said World War II Veteran Bernard Linn.

The day began at the North Central West Virginia Airport where veterans first sat down at the breakfast table, drank coffee, and preparing for a long day.

Upon instruction, veterans walked onto the plane one by one.

Each one had a smile on their face, memories were flooding from their mouths, and anticipation for what the day had in store was apparent.

There to send them off was Commissioner Butch Tennant, a representative from Governor Earl Ray Tomblin's office, and Senator Joe Manchin himself.

"They knew at the time they put that uniform on that they were willing to give their life for you. This is our chance to say thank you," Senator Manchin said to the veterans.

It wasn't long before the plane pulled away from the gate and the wheels went up. Each veteran was staring out the window, watching West Virginia fade away.

"Being 88 years old, I'm glad I am going to be there before something happens," said Robert Lefever, WWII Army Veteran.

For some veterans the most exciting part so far, was being around their fellow comrades.

"I'm more proud of these Korean Veterans and these Vietnam Veterans because they have done things that us WWII Veterans have never had to do. I'm more proud of them then I am of myself," said Carl Nuzum, WWII Navy Veteran.

When the plane touched down in Virginia, the veterans had their first surprise of the day waiting at the end of the jet-way.

Hundreds of people from Washington, D.C. were at the gate to greet them as they walked off the plane for the first time.

Music was playing, people were clapping, and American flags were waving. Smiles never left the faces of the West Virginia Veterans.

"Amazing! We didn't expect anything like that. That was wonderful! I was truly amazed. I am so thankful for that. We really appreciate that," said Robert Kozul, Korean Army Veteran.

In Part 2 of our Honor Flight series, we will see the reaction from the veterans as they see the WWII, Vietnam, and Korean Memorials.

That story will air Thursday, May 15.