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84 Kentuckiana veterans finally receive welcome home celebration they didn't get years ago

The day is long and their itinerary is packed. These veterans are about to experience one of the most emotional rollercoasters of a day they've had in decades.

Brooke Hasch

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Published: 4:19 PM EDT May 25, 2023
Updated: 9:23 AM EDT May 26, 2023

It's 5 a.m. on a Wednesday morning. Despite the hour, hundreds of people are packed into Muhammad Ali International Airport. 

Hit songs from the Andrews Sisters like Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy and Oh, Johnny fill the waiting area ahead of the TSA checkpoint. 

It's not a recording, but rather a live performance by the Ladies for Liberty, igniting the spirit of patriotism reminiscent of the 1940s and 1950s. 

A man, sporting a Vietnam War Veteran cap, is the first to be serenaded by the trio. He won't be the last. The excitement and the energy is palpable.

He's one of 84 local veterans, including two women, from Vietnam, Korea and World War II preparing for a trip of a lifetime with Honor Flight Bluegrass

In just a few hours, they'll be transported back in time, unlocking fond memories they'd forgotten and others they'd like to forget.

The day is long. The itinerary is packed. But the adrenaline and a rollercoaster of emotions will keep them going until the day's end.

It's 7 o'clock - time to board an American Airlines flight to Washington D.C. 

The veterans make their way toward the gate, each accompanied by a guardian, whom they may know or have just met. 

Cheers and applause from the Honor Flight's ground crew and airport guests send them off on what's about to be a picture-perfect day.

It's the same reception on the plane. The pilot, too, is a veteran of the Marine Corps, making his appreciation known for all the precious cargo on this flight. 

"We hope you enjoy your time in our nation's capital," he says over the intercom.

Credit: Brooke Hasch, WHAS11 News
84 Kentuckiana veterans sit on a plane heading to the nation's capital. May 17, 2023.

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