Former U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole organized the trip in honor of her late brother, World War II veteran John Van Hanford Jr.
She was joined by 106 veterans for the flight from Charlotte. Some of them arrived in wheelchairs, others were using walkers. The majority had never seen the memorial dedicated to their service, which opened to the public on April 29, 2004.
The trip is part of the nonprofit Honor Flight Network, which has taken over 30,000 World War II veterans to visit the memorial in Washington. The memorial honors the 16 million who served in the U.S. armed forces, and the more than 400,000 who died.
When the group from North Carolina stepped off the plane in Washington, D.C., they were greeted by current and former military personnel. A band played and travelers stopped in their tracks to salute the veterans as they made their way through the crowd.
Tears shone in the eyes of some as they comprehended the outpouring of support.
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