On Wednesday morning, the fifth U.P. Honor Flight took off from the Delta County Airport in Escanaba, heading to the nation's Capitol.
On board the Honor Flight were dozens of veterans and military nurses who served in War World II. For the first time, many of these veterans have the opportunity to see the World War II Memorials that were built to honor them and others who fought in the war.
The veterans and their families were escorted from the Quality Inn Hotel in Escanaba to the airport. They gathered in the airport hangar for a welcome party and parade before the flight took off at 7:30 a.m. During the parade, the Gladstone High School marching band played patriotic tunes and lead the crowd with the national anthem.
Emotions ran high for veterans and their families as they prepared for the trip of a lifetime. Ninety-year-old Elizabeth "Betty" Goulais served as a nurse in WWII and this was her very first time being a part of the Honor Flight. Betty described this as an opportunity of a lifetime. "This is an opportunity I definitely would not have experienced if it weren't for this Honor Flight," said Goulais.
Like many of the veterans on board the flight, Betty was escorted by one caregiver for the trip. Her caregiver, Marcia Short, plays a big role in the planning committee for the Honor Flight every year.
This trip is of no cost to the veterans. Short says this is just a small way to give back to those who gave so much for our country. "This is an awesome experience that our veterans, today, will never forget," says Short. This is Marcia's third time accompanying the veterans on the trip.
After spending the day touring the memorials in Washington, D.C., the veterans will arrive back in Escanaba at the Delta County Airport at 8:30 p.m. The public is encouraged to attend and welcome the veterans back from D.C. The hangar doors will open at 7 p.m.