The honorary flight, full of Southwest Florida heroes, returned from a trip Saturday. The veterans spent the day in Washington, DC, seeing memorials honoring their devotion to our country.

The honorary flight landed at RSW with a large group of people waiting, ready to welcome them home.

For many it was a once in a lifetime experience. The community is happy that their dream has become possible and it has come true.

Red, white and blue, the sounds of patriotic melodies and shouts filled the halls of Southwest Florida International Airport. Family, friends and fans welcomed home 85 veterans.

“He was desperately excited. It’s an honor for him, ”said Linda Hyde, who was waiting to welcome her husband home.

The Collier-Lee Honor flight returned from Washington. The event has been canceled for the past two years due to a pandemic.

World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam and Cold Car veterans were in flight.

Hyde’s husband, Charles, was one of them. He hoped to be able to travel, and finally such an opportunity arose.

“Tears have already begun. I really want to see him and see how he liked it, ”said Linda Hyde.

She is glad he is back home, and excited to hear all about the trip.

Monica Papaduke’s father was a Marine. She said it was her sixth honorary flight in his memory. She participates and welcomes the group back.

“It means a lot to me that this is because they were shunned when they returned home to work and they didn’t deserve it. In his memory, I do this to greet them home with love and respect, ”said Papaduke, who prepares packets of sweet messages for each veteran. “It’s weird. I am so glad and grateful that we can do it again. It meant so much to them. “

The veterans made a memorable trip thanks to donations of 80 thousand dollars.

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