Honor Flight comes home to big welcome

MEDFORD, Ore.– Twenty-five southern Oregon veterans returned home Sunday after spending four days touring Washington D.C.

The trip was part of Honor Flight – a program that takes World war II, Korean War, and Vietnam War veterans to our nation’s capital all at no cost to them. On Sunday, over a hundred people waited at the Rogue Valley International Airport to welcome them home.

Every minute is filled with anticipation waiting in the terminal for these heroes to return.

“I feel like he’s coming home from the service you know,” said Kathleen Ponce, a wife who was waiting for her husband to return from Honor Flight.

“It’s wonderful that they’re doing this for all the veterans,” said Karen Shrader, a daughter who sat with her mother as they waited for her father.

For the loved ones waiting to greet them, it’s a chance to say thank you for their service.

“It’s amazing that these veterans are given this chance to be respected and shown the honor they all deserve,” said Ponce.

With a wave of the flag or the flash of a cap, they serve as memories of what these 25 veterans did.

“It’s something well to deserve for these men that didn’t get nothing when they come home,” said Shrader. “This is more than they ever got probably.”

It’s a welcome home no matter the branch, no matter the war and for each veteran, they were grateful for those who came out to support them.

“It was a real welcome from their heart to our hearts and it was great,” said Troy Stone, a Vietnam veteran who served in the 173rd Airborne. “I think every vet here appreciates it to the fullest extent.”

Sometimes, all it takes is a shake of the hand and a simple thank you to acknowledge the sacrifices these men and women have made.

“Veterans need to be distinguished and honored because what we do is a once in a lifetime thing,” said Stone.

The southern Oregon non-profit takes war veterans to Washington D.C. to see the memorials dedicated to their service. It is done at no cost to the veterans.

For more information on the non-profit, or to make a donation or apply to go on a trip, visit here. 

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