The sight of over 100 veterans arriving at a Washington, D.C. airport, moved bystanders to erupt in applause on Sept. 26.
Bystander Josh Chenault was able to capture video footage of the moving moments that patriotism swelled throughout the airport as veterans who served in World War II, Vietnam and Korea walked by.
The veterans were in D.C. courtesy of the Honor Flight Network, a program that makes it possible for veterans from around the country to make the significant visit to the nation’s capital.
“The Honor Flight Network’s mission is to fly World War II Veterans to Washington DC to visit THEIR Memorials,” reads the program’s website.
Veterans are invited to apply to the program, which covers travel and accommodation expenses associated with the trip.
“We are encouraging veterans throughout the United States to submit applications because it is our ultimate goal that ALL capable World War II, Korean and Vietnam Veterans travel with us,” the website explains.
Upon arrival, veterans have the opportunity to visit memorials such as the National World War II Memorial.
They may even get to shake hands with former U.S. Senator Bob Dole, who still makes his way to the memorial as often as his health allows.
“I tell them it doesn’t matter where you’re from, what war you served in, whether you were wounded or not wounded,” Dole has said. “We’re all in this together.”
As Chenault watched the line of veterans parade by, his thoughts traveled to his own grandfather, who never got the chance to make such an important trip.
“Always makes me emotional,” Chenault wrote on Facebook. “Wish my own grandfather coulda had the chance to do this.”
Chenault praised Southwest Airlines for making travel possible for these very deserving veterans.
“As always, the veteran is not required to pay for anything, unless they choose to purchase souvenirs,” the Honor Flight Network explained. “They have paid enough with their service to this country.”
If you know of a veteran who should make this trip, help him or her apply by visiting the Southwest Lone Eagle Program‘s web page. Every veteran deserves to be honored in this remarkable way.
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