WASHINGTON (KELO) — Navy veteran James Wosje of Sioux Falls says the recognition he received on Midwest Honor Flight wasn’t always there.

“It’s something that we never did receive,” Wosje said. “As Vietnam vets, when we came home … we were shunned, we weren’t welcomed home at all when we came back in the late 60s, early 70s.”

He was one of 84 veterans of the Korean and Vietnam War-eras honored on the organization’s 10th mission last Wednesday. Midwest Honor Flight president and director Aaron Van Beek says overall, nearly 900 veterans have been honored on the ten missions.

“Our veterans deserve this opportunity, this honor, this closure, this respect, to know that their service is not going to be forgotten,” Van Beek said.

They’re not done with flights in 2022, not by a long shot.

“We are working to confirm a lot of the details for three this fall, and we hope to announce that around June 15th,” Van Beek said.

Gretchen Vande Poppe has been a volunteer with Midwest Honor Flight since the beginning. She’s taken photos for the organization on every flight.

“It is a blessing to see these veterans do this and that we are honored to do it for them, and a photo tells so many stories,” Vande Poppe said. “So that’s a joy for me to capture that, and through their eyes what the day perhaps has brought them.”

The day means the world to veterans.

“Just happiness, I just feel great about this,” Army veteran Eugene Sanow of Vermillion, S.D. said.

“I think I enjoyed every minute of it,” Army veteran Wilmer Deibert of Ipswich, S.D. said. “I really appreciated it.”

Gail Arnott of Wessington Springs, S.D. is a veteran who was a guardian for another on last week’s trip.

“This really is making up, I think, for a lot of lost time in thanking these men and women who served with no recognition when they returned, and if it was recognition, it was negative,” Arnott said.

“It is imperative that we get every veteran the chance to get on one of these flights and to have reached this milestone of 10 with a current waiting list of at least 10 more flights to go, we’re very excited for this opportunity to continue going into the future with those three in the fall,” Van Beek said.

You can find additional reporting on last week’s trip here, here and here.