Local veterans take final Honor Flight to Washington D.C.

At WWII monument/Photo Courtesy: Office of Congressman Tom Rice

Local veterans got a chance Wednesday to board the seventh and final Honor Flight, traveling to Washington, DC to visit a number of memorials and pay tribute to some of the country's fallen heroes.

Honor Flight organizers say they're running out of World War II vets they can find from our area.

The Veterans Administration says about 1,000 World War II veterans die every day.

On Wednesday, 48 World War II veterans and 30 Korean War veterans boarded the flight.

For many of the veterans onboard, it's a trip long overdue, most had never been to the monuments before.

"I've heard all great things about it and it's something I've always wanted to do and this is a great chance for me to see it," explained Albert LaPorta, a Korean War veteran.

LaPorta and Neil Hilt, also a Korean War veteran, reflected on the war monuments they'd see when they arrive.

"I think the first thing I'm going to do is probably say a prayer for all the guys that didn't make it back," LaPorta said.

Hilt said the experience would bring back memories. "You think of those periods when you were serving in the military and what went on during that period in history and you think about all the people that did serve and those that didn't come back."

Wednesday night they returned home.

They were greeted by hundreds of people who created a reception line to greet them.

Live band music played, while countless people cheered and waved American flags.

Veterans told us they were overwhelmed by the warm welcome.

"It's staggering. Never expected anything like this. This amount of people out here. It was a wonderful, wonderful, feeling," said LaPorta upon his return.

"It gives you an awful warm feeling that there are Americans out there that really appreciate the military," Hilt said Wednesday night.

Many veterans would like for this Honor Flight to happen again somehow to give those remaining veterans a chance to be a part of this unforgettable experience.