It was a heroic sendoff for 25 Utah World War II veterans and two veterans of the Korean War. Now in their late 80s or 90s, it's a last chance for many to see the memorials built in their honor.
“There are 9,000 World War II veterans that have never seen the memorial and there are 600 dying a day nationwide. That's 30 to 40 funerals a day in Utah. It needs to be done,” said Dan Curtis, Honor Flight organizer.
ABC 4 Utah was the only television station to accompany the first Honor Flight last October. We were privileged to be there as they toured museums, the Arlington National Cemetery and as they raised the flag at Fort McHenry.
“This has brought a lot of old memories back,” said one veteran.
“It’s a real powerful and emotional experience. I've seen so many of these World War II veterans when they visit the memorial, I know how much it means to them so I’m thrilled we've got this honor flight coming from Utah,” said Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah.
“It’s thrilling - something I thought I’d never do and I’m really excited about it,” said Bill Bassett, World War II Navy veteran.
The Honor Flight is operated by volunteers and funded through donations. It costs about $900 per person for the three-day trip. This group will return home Wednesday and the public is invited to welcome them home at the intersection of 700 North and 2200 West in Salt Lake City at 4:30 p.m.