MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WPDE) - The fourth Honor Flight Grand Strand took off bright and early from Myrtle Beach on May 23, with 88 World War II veterans on board. The men were excited to get to Washington since this was the first time they were going to see the World War II monument.
The tour of D.C. started at the World War II monument where the men were able to take pictures under the South Carolina pillar. From there, the group headed to the U.S. Navy Memorial.
Among the men was Navy veteran William Ambrose. He described the time he took President Harry Truman on the USS Missouri down to Rio de Janeiro.
"That was my last trip with the Navy," sa id Ambrose.
T hey also visited the Lincoln, Korean, Vietnam and Iwo Jima memorials. The jam packed day ended with the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
The goal of the trip was to bring our nations heroes to the memorials erected in their honor, but the men also made some new friends. Frank Gaudioso said that his favorite part was "meeting all these nice men."
Just when the veterans thought the day was over, there were more surprises awaiting them at the airport. Each man was given letters from local school children thanking them, and a huge VIP welcome home.
Chet Cavanaugh couldn't believe the red carpet treatment , "I had never seen an outfit that was so completely concise as the people who put this trip together."
It was a long day, but one these veterans will never forget.
Honor Flight is a free trip paid for by donations. The next trip is scheduled October 24. Veterans can apply online.