Honor Flight Kentucky delivers priceless memories to veterans

Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 6:39 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Nearly 70 veterans had the chance of a lifetime to visit monuments in Washington D.C. on Saturday as part of Honor Flight Kentucky.

The flight was made possible through the support of Kentucky Touchstone Energy Cooperatives.

Fred Hall, 96, of Allen, was the sole WWII vet on-board.

“All the stuff we’ve been through and believe me, we’ve seen a lot,” he said.

The social butterfly was looking forward to spending the day with fellow veterans.

“I’m a person person. I’ve been that way all my life. I like to meet people and I like to find out who they are and what they are.”

For two years he tried to make the journey to Washington D.C.

On Saturday, he was finally able to make the trip alongside his son.

He enlisted at 18 and served in multiple branches.

While at the WWII Memorial, he met another WWII vet Bruno from Florida. He’s 102 years old.

“Do you feel as old as you are?” he asked him.

The two posed for photos, laughed and shook hands.

“Oh goodness, that’s the most important thing is friendship and love,” he said. “You gotta have that.”

Fred didn’t waste a single moment in the nation’s capital.

There were also two female veterans on the trip who were inducted in the Military Women’s Memorial.

Dorothy Rice is from Clay County and served in the Navy in San Diego as a storekeeper.

She then served in Virginia, Florida, Colorado, Spain and Japan as an intelligence specialist.

Her guardian on the trip is none other than her niece, Virgella Robinson, who is also a veteran.

So far, 309,000 stories have been archived. Curators say, they are still looking to collect another 2.7 million stories from servicewomen.

Eight of the vets served in the Korean War. The rest served in Vietnam.

Other stops included the Iwo Jima Memorial, the Pentagon, 9/11 Memorial Gardens, Air Force Memorial, Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, WWII Memorial, Korean & Vietnam War Memorial.

Feelings were flowing, the emotions were raw and real.

“It’s the welcome that you get when we came in,” said Gary Bishop. “To see that people appreciate it. like I said, it makes your heart feel good.”

While visiting the Iwo Jima Memorial, Navy cadets made a stop during their morning training.

They began singing to the Kentucky veterans.

Marion Taylor is 92-years-old and said “Once a Marine, always a Marine.”

They then came up to thank them for their service.

“It was good to see ‘em,” said Taylor. “Haven’t seen that many Marines together since I left.”

The veterans were welcomed with a crowd of cheers and fanfare when they landed in D.C. and once they returned to Bluegrass Airport.

The next Honor Flight is slated for October 7th.