A day to remember: Honor Flight lifts 83 south Florida veterans to Washington, D.C.

WPTV NewsChannel 5's Dan Corcoran invited on board

WASHINGTON, D.C. - From 'wheels up' to 'touch down', eighty three south Florida World War II veterans were treated like the American heroes that they are. They were on board an Honor Flight to Washington D.C.

At 94 years old, Carey Parnell does not fly much any more. But this flight was special because of what - and who - he was about to see.

"Brings back a lot of memories," said Parnell as he buckled himself in for takeoff. The U.S. Navy veteran and 82 other south Florida veterans were taking the Honor Flight from Palm Beach International Airport to the nation's capitol.

Moments after touch down they were on the move, the busy airport terminal stood at attention. Hundreds of bystanders were paying respect as these American heroes passed by.

Parnell had a special visitor waiting at the gate - his grandson, Graham Goerg, a U.S. Marine who obtained special permission from his superiors to spend this day with 'Gramps'. "It's been a while since we've seen each other," said Goerg. "I'm just glad to be here with him and share the day."

Off they went - together - to Arlington National Cemetery, to the World War II monument and to the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial.

"You are so thankful that you are here and this is so great," said Parnell. "But then you think of the poor guys that didn't make it."

Nearly seven decades after battle, this journey can bring old memories back to life. "I'm just proud to be a part of it and survived," said Parnell.

"My grandfather was there. He lived it," said Goerg. "To be here to share this with him is really cool."

For many of these veterans, this was not only their first time seeing these memorials. It was their first trip to Washington. To learn more about Honor Flight, click here.

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