SPOKANE, Wash. — Dozens of veterans returned home Tuesday night to a grateful welcome from hundreds of people across the Inland Northwest.

The vets had just gotten back from DC, where they were taken by Inland Northwest Honor Flight to see for the first time the memorials built to commemorate their service.

"It was a wonderful thing, once in a lifetime thing," said one Vietnam vet who was on the most recent flight. "We needed a month. But we covered a lot."

"It is gorgeous. It is well worth the time," said a Korea vet who was on the April flight three years ago. "It's something that everybody who has the chance ought to do. It brings back a lot of memories, a lot of thoughts. And it's an honor to see the monuments that have been built in our honor."

"When I took the Honor Flight last year and came through this crowd, this was my welcome home," said another Vietnam vet. "About fifty years too late, but it meant a lot. It meant a great deal to me."

According to the Inland Northwest Honor Flight website 1,533 veterans have taken the trip since November 2009. 

The organization relies on donations and volunteers to take the veterans to DC at no cost to them. 

There are usually two trips per year, each one ending in the welcome home at the Spokane International Airport.