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Honor Flight: A Trip Full Of Surprises

September 12, 2011, 7:51 PM by Austin Hoffman

Honor Flight: A Trip Full Of Surprises
RAPID CITY, SD - South Dakota's final flight left Sioux Falls in June of this year. And from the first to the very final flight, each and every one of the 1,400 veterans went home with a smile.

"That was the greatest group of people who seemed to care for us veterans and they really took care of us. It was a marvelous trip," veteran Chuck Childs said.

Rapid City veteran Chuck Childs was one of 110 on the final flight. His journey began with a bus ride to Sioux Falls, a banquet and a flight the next day.

"On the airplane they had some medical nurses and they'd walk around and they had a sheet with a name on it and they'd walk up and they'd say 'Mr. Jones, its time for your pills.' And they'd take the pills and give them the pills. They had everything timed to the second. There wasn't a man on that airplane that didn't have some attention given to him. It was remarkable," Childs said.

And just like every flight before theirs, every veteran was overwhelmed upon arrival. When Childs got to his first stop, the surprises just kept coming.

"There was a two-star general who was pushing one of the veterans. Can you imagine that, two-star general. And they made certain that we saw all the memorials," Childs said.

Like many aboard the final flight, for Childs, the trip was about the camaraderie of old friends, new stories, and, of course, the memorial made in their honor.

"A lot of guys just stood there in silence, it brought tears, because it brought back a lot of memories. And to have our nation recognize us in such a way is a wonderful, wonderful thing," Childs said.

But Childs knows that unforgettable moment wouldn't have been possible without statewide support, the dedication of the organizers and so many volunteers.

"It was one of the greatest things, I think, that we veterans from World War Two could have had given to us is what they gave to us. We thank from the bottom of our heart for that. Thank you, thank you," Childs said.

But for the volunteers and organizers the stories, smiles and tears were thank you enough.

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