Kansas Honor Flight No. 50 gets a hero’s welcome

Kansas Honor Flight No. 50 was welcomed home Friday at Wichita’s Eisenhower National Airport, with family and friends praising the veterans who served in World War II, Vietnam and Korea.

“This is something to honor them,” said volunteer Sue Bush, whose husband served in the Vietnam War. “He served two years in Vietnam as a medical evacuation helicopter pilot, and the Vietnam vets didn’t get any welcome home.”

Friday’s festivities served as that welcome home.

The 37 veterans — including three from World War II — returned from a two-night stay in Washington, D.C., where they visited the World War II Memorial, Korean Veterans Memorial, Iwo Jima Memorial, Navy Memorial, Air Force Memorial and Vietnam Memorial.

The group also toured the Lincoln Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, Fort McHenry and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The mission of the honor flights is to transport America’s veterans to Washington to visit memorials at no cost to them.

On Friday, uniformed Air Force members formed a human tunnel into the baggage claim at the Wichita airport, along with other veterans, cheerleaders and football players.

The procession began with a bagpiper, followed by a color guard and then the returning veterans. As they began to emerge from the procession, family members — dressed in red, white and blue — cheered and yelled, “Welcome home!”

The group gathered for a photo, followed by a speeches from airport executives, U.S. Rep. Ron Estes and U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran.

“Not a single one of these men or women who served our nation did so with the purposes of Republican this or Democrat that,” Moran said. “They did it because they believed they could make a difference for the safety and security of their family and their nation.”

For more information on Kansas Honor Flights, visit www.kansashonorflight.org.

(c)2017 The Wichita Eagle (Wichita, Kan.)
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