SPOKANE, Wash. -- When ‘Nurse Mary’ arrived at the Spokane International Airport Tuesday night it was to a resounding round of cheers. Mary Hancock was one of the 93 veterans returning from Honor Flight – a trip that takes our veterans to Washington, DC free of charge to visit the memorials built in their honor.

She led the group off the plane. Hancock was a Navy nurse during WWII and was the only female member of this week’s Inland Northwest Honor Flight trip to Washington, DC.

Right behind Hancock came the other veterans and each with amazing stories from years of service. Army veteran Jerry Garcia walked off the flight Tuesday night in his uniform. A veteran of the Korean and Vietnam wars he wore the uniform throughout the trip.

Salute 2 Service

William Gomez of Tonasket carried a sign bearing his friends name who died before he could make a trip with Honor Flight. Gomez said he will carry that sign back to his friend’s family so they know his memory lives on.

The veterans represented three wars and decades of service. While their service spanned generations covering WWII, Korean War, and the Vietnam War they all carried the common bond of service and valor. Supporters at the airport carried signs, waved flags, and greeted the group with a hero’s welcome.

While in Washington, DC the veterans visited a half dozen memorials, Arlington National Cemetery and the Tomb of the Unknowns, and the Women in Military Service Museum. Inland NW Honor Flight transports veterans to Washington, DC to see the memorials built in their honor. They pay the expenses of each veteran through the generous donations of supporters like you. Volunteers pay their own way to help escort the veterans. The next Honor Flight is scheduled for spring of 2017.