WASHINGTON, D.C. (KELO) — 120 Vietnam Veterans from South Dakota, northwest Iowa and southwest Minnesota went to Washington D.C. on Saturday. Below is a look at the day through our live blog.
Thoughout the upcoming week, we will have extended coverage from Midwest Honor Flight on KELOLAND.com.
Sioux Falls Welcome Home
Flight to Sioux Falls
WWII Memorial, Korean and Vietnam War Memorial
The most emotional part of the trip was the stop at the Vietnam Memorial for this flight of all Vietnam veterans.
We will bring you many of these stories at the memorial throughout the next few days.
We are now heading to the airport.
A quick stop at the Navy Memorial before we head to the National Mall. This next stop will be pretty long.
Air Force Memorial
The Air Force Memorial near the Pentagon was the stop for lunch. Veterans and the volunteers took some downtime with a view of the Washington Monument.
Arlington National Cemetery & Changing of the Guards
US Marine Corps War Memorial
Arrival at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport
We have arrived in the Washington D.C. area. The veterans were greeted by a water cannon upon arrival. Inside the terminal of Washington National Airport, hundreds of people lined up to thank the veterans.
From local Boy Scouts to just passengers in the airport, people were cheering as each veteran walked through. A welcome, unlike what many of these veterans experienced upon returning from the Vietnam War.
✈ Flight to Washington D.C.
The flight started off like a normal flight out of Sioux Falls, until the American Airlines crew turned the mic to the veterans aboard. They are sharing their stories and singing songs.
The Air National Guard fire unit planned to shoot a water canon, but due to freezing weather they weren’t able to.
Boarding the flight
National Anthem with flight
Veterans and Guardians arrive at Sioux Falls Regional Airport
The veterans and their guardians are arriving at Sioux Falls Regional Airport. Here they will check-in and go through security.
After this trip, 520 veterans will have gone on Midwest Honor Flight. According to president and director Aaron Van Beek, there are still 550 waiting to go on a flight.
Three members of the Rapid City Fire Department are flying on Mission 6.
Below is a listing of the rest of the day. This may change.
Welcome home at Sioux Falls Arena
This event will be open to the public. Doors open at 7:45 p.m. The veterans are expected to arrive at 9:30 p.m. (CT).