Hundreds Support Veterans Coming Home From Honor Flight At XNA

Over eighty World War II veterans visited Washington D.C. Saturday to pay tribute to the fallen and visit with their brothers and sisters in arms.

Organizer Bill McKenzie said they have done eleven Honor Flights over the last five years, serving nearly 900 veterans.

“People forget how we got where we are by what these guys did,” McKenzie said, “And greatest generation is an understatement…They saved the world.”

Hundreds of past and present servicemen and women, along with family, friends and community members crowded the terminal at XNA to cheer on the veterans getting back from the nation’s capital.

Timothy Smith is a First Lieutenant in the Air Force and said there is nothing better than the celebration of coming home.

“Every airport you stop in you have crowds,” Smith said, “And for this crowd to be just for them, just to welcome them and honor them for the service and sacrifices they made, I think it will be overwhelming for them.”

Eighty-seven year old veteran Homer Phillips served from 1944-46 with the United States Navy. He said seeing the World War II memorial was something he will never forget.

“It touches you right here…it’s just been a great day, we’ve had a great day,” Phillips said.

Organizers said this is the final Honor Flight for Northwest Arkansas because of the decreasing number of World War II Veterans and their advancing age. The oldest veteran to go Saturday was 98 years old.



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