PEORIA, Ill. — Hundreds of loved ones crowded the Peoria International Airport, Tuesday, to greet veterans returning home from Washington D.C.
These veterans were apart of this year’s third Greater Peoria Honor Flight program. The program is designed to transport those who served to visit their memorial in Washington, D.C. at no cost.
This year was a year of firsts as many had never took part of the Honor Flight experience. Jackson Molleck, grandson of honor flight participants, said although this was his first time, it was one he’ll never forget.
“This was the most surprising thing I’ve ever seen.” Molleck said. “This was my first time coming to it so I liked it.”
James Grover, a veteran who was also experiencing the program for the first time, said he felt the trip to the memorials acted as a way for them to develop a better understanding of each other.
“There’s a lot of connection out there even though you don’t have someone you lost.” Grover said. “You still have a lot of empathy for those who did have losses; such as friends, fellow solders and so forth.”
Grover also mentioned he recommends this program to other veterans who’ve never participated in an Honor Flight before as he believes it would be something for them to treasure.
“If there’s any veteran out there that has an opportunity to go on an Honor Flight, sign up for it and go,” said Grover. “You’ll love it.”
The next Greater Peoria Honor flight takes place October 8.
If you or a loved one is interested in taking an Honor Flight, you can visit their website.