LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — As 36 veterans filed out of LAX, the applause from the onlookers never waned. The high-fives never stopped. Nor did the hugs and kisses.
For one soldier, the sight of his granddaughter among the crowd to cheer him was overwhelming and absolutely astounding.
He and other members of the Greatest Generation are all back from their final mission — a trip to the World War II Memorial in Washington D.C.
“I don’t have the words to describe it,” said Dick True. “All the people who welcomed all the vets. I dont think, me in particular, I don’t think I deserved any of it.”
But an organization called Honor Flight Southland would say this honor is long overdue.
‘Honor Flight Southland’ is a non-profit volunteer organization created “solely to honor America’s veterans for all their sacrifices.”
The non profit took the World War II veterans on a whirlwind trip of the Capitol, including pioneers like Frank Davis, whose discharge papers show he was in Normandy. He earned five bronze stars at a time when the military was still segregated.
“Sometimes you think you are unappreciated,” Davis said, “but then you find out…”
At this point Davis got emtional and speechless. The ceremony left many soldiers like Davis speechless.
Fellow veteran Tom Blatnik says he cannot believe all the well wishes he has gotten from total strangers, and says visiting the World War II Memorial brought back buried memories.
“We never talk about it,” Blatnik says, “I don’t know why. We just keep everything in.”
But even if this crowd didn’t know all the details, the trip and the cheers and the thank yous, are a reminder — the veterans have not forgotten their service, and we have not forgotten them.