GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — More than 70 World War II veterans and 100 of their guests were part of Tuesday’s Mid-Michigan Honor Flight to Washington, D.C.
It has been more than 70 years since the attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. After that, it wasn’t long before U.S. troops were headed overseas to the already-raging war. Tuesday, the men and women who heeded the call to service after Dec. 7, 1941 were honored during a day trip to D.C.
The veterans started the day by boarding a charted flight from Gerald R. Ford International Airport to Dulles International Airport.
Lillian Arrand, who served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, was among the group.
“I have feelings for all the people that didn’t come back,” she said. “My husband was very lucky, and all my brothers were safe.”
Dulles was supposed to be simply a transfer point — but it became far more when a big crowd turned out to say thank you. People gave the veterans cards and hugs.
“I couldn’t believe the young people at the airport. The young kids and families it’s just overwhelming you know,” veteran Martin Schuiling said.
The veterans saw several landmarks around the nation’s capitol, but the World War II Memorial at the National Mall was the main event.
Many had never seen it before.
Then, the group went to Arlington National Cemetery for a wreath-laying to commemorate the flight and a changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
A bus breakdown caused a brief delay in getting back to the airport, but another bus soon arrived and took the veterans on.
When they returned to Grand Rapids, they were greeted by a big crowd that included family members and people who simply wanted to show their appreciation and a participated in a ceremony at Ford Airport to close out the day.
The event was made possible through donations.