Vets' whirlwind day ends with RDU welcome
Posted October 7, 2010 8:13 p.m. EDT
Updated October 8, 2010 12:14 a.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — The 100 veterans from the Triangle who traveled to Washington, D.C., on a Flight of Honor Thursday capped the day with a raucous welcome from thousands who gathered to greet them at Raleigh-Durham International Airport.
The day-long, all-expenses-paid trip was made possible by donations from WRAL viewers.
"It one of the most special things that's ever happened to us, to my father-in-law," Carolyn Waters said. "(To) finally receive the honor that he deserves, along with all these other special veterans. This is what America is all about."
The Flight of Honor organization sponsors the trips to take veterans of World War II to see the memorial in their honor.
Thursday's flight was the first from the Triangle. Two others are planned and donations are still being accepted online and at all Bank of America branches.
The group left from RDU early Thursday and visited the Iwo Jima, Korean War and Vietnam War memorials in addition to the WWII memorial.
At each step along the way, they were greeted by cheering crowds.
Thousands of family, friends and grateful area residents gathered at the airport for an emotional end to a long day of travel.
"I had a great time," veteran Guy Parsons said. "Everybody's been so nice. I just can't tell you how proud I am."