WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Red, white & blue filled the concourse of the Palm Beach International Airport (PBIA) Saturday night as families and loved ones eagerly anticipated the arrival of 78 veterans to come home from their Honor Flight.
"Flags, cheering, family, members, balloons, twirly things and a lot of really happy people," describes Rosemarie Chapdelaine, who is waiting for her husband to return from the trip. “I think they’re going to be exhausted and really, really happy because they got to be in a fabulous place in DC."
Representatives say waiting list is extensive to be a part of an Honor Flight.
Veterans are selected in order of year that they served, with older veterans taking priority.
Honor Flights were delayed because of the pandemic, but this is the first of the year.
“It’s about time and it’s so hard when I look at my husband and I see the pain for the men in his unit that died and it’s been so many years,” said Chapdelaine.
Through the Honor Flight veterans flew to Washington DC for a chance to experience our nation's memorials such as Arlington Cemetery and the Vietnam Memorial.
"It's the wall that gets to me. I have names on the wall that I lost in Vietnam," said Joseph "Jake" Kehlenbach, a Vietnam Veteran with the U.S. Army. "Once you get in the flow it was beautiful. They did a great job."
Saturday's Honor Flight is one of four scheduled for 2022.
"When we came back we didn't get the respect that we get now. It kind of gives me goosebumps, ha ha," said Kehlenbach.
Veterans were asked to arrive at the airport at 3 a.m. Saturday for their 5:30 a.m. flight and they landed back at PBIA around 8 p.m.