Seventy World War II veterans took part in the Indy Honor Flight to the National WW II Memorial in the nation’s capital Saturday and received a hero’s welcome upon returning.
The group of veterans took off from Indianapolis at about 8 a.m. and landed at about 8:30 p.m. Each veteran is paired with a guardian and the group was able to visit the WW II Memorial for about two hours and got to do some other sightseeing in Washington, D.C., as part of the trip.
Thousands of Hoosiers lined up at the Indianapolis International Airport to give veterans the homecoming many of them never received. Many held flags and signs, while welcoming members of the Greatest Generation home. Women dressed in 1940s attire planted as kisses on each veteran’s cheek while they traveled through the procession
Don Schauwecker, an Indy Honor Flight committee member who lives in Avon, said this all started in 2012.
“This is the fourth flight for us,” he said. “We started our first flight in the fall of 2012. Then we took two flights last year — one in the spring and one in the fall. This year were taking two flights (in the spring/summer). This is the first one and May 10 is the next one. We’re taking two in the fall, and possibly three if we get enough veterans.”
Schauwecker said there was an Honor Flight that took place in Lafayette, but many in the city felt it was time to bring one to Indianapolis.
“It all started out on a whim,” he said. “The (American) Gold Star Mothers out of Lafayette were the first group to get this thing (going) out of Lafayette, it started up there.”
Schauwecker said it’s important for the veterans to be able to see the WW II Memorial.