Honor Flight Nevada veterans visit World War II Memorial

Reported by: Ashley Cullins
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Updated: 5/12 2:24 pm
RENO, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) -- Honor Flight Nevada takes our local heroes to the monuments in the capitol that are dedicated to their service. Last weekend more than 30 local veterans made the trip of a lifetime.

"I almost didn't make it but here I am," said World War II Navy veteran Frank Richer.

Richer was on the USS Bunker Hill when it was attacked by two kamikazes in World War II.

Now nearly 70 years later, he's one of the Nevada veterans visiting the monument to their fight.

"[It's] unbelievable the amount of people that are here," Richer said.

On a busy sunny day at the National WWII Memorial, the Nevada Honor Flight paused for a group photo. Then they got a little surprise: a challenge coin from Senator Harry Reid's office.

It was one of countless thank yous during the day, as our veterans were greeted by fellow servicemen and tourists.

"They deserve every bit of this," said Rick Freeman, an Honor Flight guardian. 

"So far it's great," said his father Dick Freeman, a WWII Marine veteran. "We're looking forward to the rest of the day."

It's a day that reminds them of not just where they are, but where they have been.

"It's going to bring back a lot of memories for a lot of people," said WWII veteran Erwin Powell.

"Not too many people can say they went down there and did what they had to do and came back without a scratch," said Joseph Salinas, a World War II veteran.

Many didn't make it back. A field of gold stars shine in their honor - one star for every 10 thousand Americans who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

"I'm still awed at everything that I've seen so far," Salinas said.

"It's a great contribution to World War II veterans," WWII veteran Harold Saylor said. 

The trip is meant to thank them for their service and sacrifice, but they're thankful too. 

"It's very impressive," Powell said. "I'm certainly glad to have the opportunity to make this trip."

"[It's] just a thrill to be here and a privelidge and I'm glad that I was able to do it," Salinas said.

Honor Flights are 100 percent free to the veterans as a thank you for their service, but each trip costs between $40-50 thousand and is paid for by donations and sponsorships. Honor Flight Nevada is a non-profit and all of the money they raise goes directly to providing these trips.

If you'd like to support the program, click here.
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