WASHINGTON D.C. (KELO) — 81 veterans are back from our nation’s capital following this weekend’s latest mission for the Midwest Honor Flight.
It’s a chance for veterans to see the memorials dedicated to those who have served and sacrificed for our country.
After a sendoff in Sioux Falls, the veterans and their guardians boarded a plane headed east.
A warm welcome awaited them at Reagan National Airport.
Arlington National Cemetery was the first stop of the day.
People looked on in silence during the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
“The precision of the marching, it was just beyond belief,” Vietnam veteran Steven O’Malley said.
Steven O’Malley of Rapid City is a Vietnam veteran.
Just getting the chance to be on the trip makes him emotional.
“When I got the call, I literally cried…made me so happy,” O’Malley said.
“There’s a lot of emotions that go along with an honor flight and every veteran is going to experience it a little bit differently. It might be right away in the morning, it might be at their memorial, it might not be until we get home again, but every veteran is going to take something away from this day” Midwest Honor Flight director and president Aaron Van Beek said.
For O’Malley, the experience is indescribable.
“The feeling I have that has come over me beyond belief,” O’Malley said.
This past weekend’s honor flight included veterans from World War II as well as the Korean and Vietnam Wars.