Local Honor Flight veterans head to Washington, D.C.




Posted on September 24, 2013 at 2:01 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 1 at 1:22 PM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Nearly 90 veterans filled a plane bound for a two-day trip to Washington, D.C. to take part in the second-to-last Honor Flight of 2013.

It will be World War II veteran Cecil Nelson's first trip to the nation's capital.

"I've been to Boston when I left on a ship going to Europe. That was the last time, and that was in '42," Nelson said.

He is one of 85 World War II veterans on this latest Honor Flight. The idea that they may have served together and never met brought them together.

WATCH: KREM 2 News' Randy Shaw reports from Honor Flight in Washington, D.C.

"We were probably in the same place," said World War II Marine Lee Smith. "But the thing like, Saipan or even Guam or something, is so big and so many people, you may be standing next to a person and then never know it, then 60 years later, 70 years later, run across them."

"There's so few of us, some of us didn't get to go," said Nelson. "And so it's really nice that they're doing it and I really appreciate it. I thank them very much, because I wouldn't be making this trip if it wasn't for them." 

Vietnam veteran Bob Kelly joined this flight also. His doctors expected he will not live to see his 60th birthday in March.

"Once in a lifetime. It's true," Kelly said. "I mean, everybody that's going. I'm going to feel like the baby of the bunch by the time I get down there. Some of these guys, World War Two, they've been around awhile."

Everybody is welcome to give the veterans a heroes' welcome when they return Wednesday night at Spokane International Airport. They are expected to be at baggage claim around 6:30 p.m.