CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — More than 50 veterans departed from the Gerald R. Ford International Airport Tuesday, headed to Washington D.C. on the 15th Mid-Michigan Honor Flight.
There were 29 veterans who served in the Korean War, 42 from Vietnam and three from World War II.
“Real happy to see that they’re doing something for the veterans,” Richard Funch, who served in the Korean War, said.
Funch brought his daughter, Dana, as his companion. He looked forward to spending time with her and seeing the memorials in D.C.
“I think that’ll be a good time, really good experience and something to talk about for later years,” Funch said.
The Honor Flight is typically done in one day, but this one was split into two to allow the veterans to sleep in and enjoy the sites. The first destination for the veterans would be Baltimore, Maryland, before they headed on to D.C.
“I’m just thrilled, thrilled,” Robert Norton, a Korean War veteran, said.
He was joined by his son, Mike Norton, who traveled from California to take the trip.
“We’re just looking forward to the trip and the experience that we’re going to have,” Mike Norton, who served in Vietnam, said.
The trip is all paid for by the Honor Flight organization. The Mid-Michigan Honor Flight President Robert Green said the group fundraises throughout the year to give the experience to veterans.
He took the flight in 2014 with his father, who served in the Korean War.
“I got to see a side of my dad that I’d never seen before. My dad was very stoic and didn’t say a lot; like his generation, didn’t show his emotions, but I got to see a side of him that I’d never seen before and it was quite an honor to be able to share that with him,” Green said.
He has had many travelers describe the trip as therapeutic.
“I’ve actually had Vietnam veterans come up to me after we get back and tell me that they’re healed, that this flight healed them, that they had a wound that they didn’t know existed, and now they can talk about their experiences and they see that their service meant something not just to their family, but to other people,” Green said.
There is a welcome home reception for the honor flight Wednesday at 8:40 p.m. at the airport at baggage claim 4. Anyone can attend and welcome the veterans home.