‘I’m so proud;’ Veterans welcomed home after first local honor flight of year

DAYTON — A plane full of veterans touched down in Dayton Saturday night, completing the first honor flight of the year.

The organization flew 102 World War II, Korean, Vietnam, and Cold War veterans to Washington D.C. to see national memorials at no cost.

News Center 7′s Malik Patterson went to Dayton International Airport to help welcome home the veterans.

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“The Dayton International Airport is proud to be the host airport and work with Honor Flight of Dayton in this great opportunity to honor our veterans,” Director of Aviation for the City of Dayton Gil Turner said.

To greet the veterans, friends and family were joined by the Wright Patterson Air Force Band of Flight, Centerville Community Band, active members of the Armed Forces, and many other organizations.

Sharon Pierce said her husband, Randy, was one of the many veterans on the flight.

Randy served in the Vietnam War and was on active duty in the Navy from 1971-1977, but he never had a real “welcome home” when his service came to an end.

He had to wait nearly 50 years, but Randy finally received a proper thank you for his service on Saturday.

“It just, it makes me want to cry. I’m so proud of him that he is so proud and honored to be a part of this. I was not with him during the Vietnam years. So I didn’t see the full impact,” Sharon Pierce said.

Saturday’s flight was the first of four honor flights scheduled for 2024. The next one is set to take place on June 1.

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