LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The only flight for Honor Flight Bluegrass this year took off early this morning with 80 local veterans on board.
15 WWII, 43 Korean, and 22 Vietnam veterans gathered at Louisville's Muhammad Ali International Airport Wednesday to fly to Washington D.C. During their trip, the veterans will get to visit three national war memorials before returning to Kentucky Wednesday night.
Some of this year's participants said they are hoping to find the names of their friends and fellow soldiers who didn't make it home, so they could pay tribute to their memories.
"You feel a certain amount of pride and sadness for your buddies who are up on that wall," said Air Force Veteran David Rose.
This year's group is expected to return to Louisville around 10 p.m. and organizers want your help. Members of the community are invited to come to the upper level of the airport near the escalators to applaud the veterans as get they off their flight.
This is especially important for veterans who didn't receive a warm welcome when they came home from war.
"It's my understanding that there is a huge party when we get back and the Vietnam vets were not properly welcomed home when they came back, and this will kind of give me a little closure," Rose said.
Flags and "Welcome Home" signs are encouraged. Due to a federal mandate, masks are required.
Honor Flight Bluegrass sends Kentucky and Indiana veterans to Washington D.C. every year for free as a thank you for their service. COVID-19 suspended the 2020 flight, but organizers were ready to resume the tradition this year.