Honor Flight Veterans receive hero's welcome

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) -- For many Honor Flight veterans, the gathering at Montgomery Regional Airport was a homecoming of a lifetime.

Hundreds of supporters greeted veterans as they arrived from their trip in Washington, DC.

"These are our forgotten heroes. These are the people who have been there, done that, and now, they've got the T-shirt," said one supporter.

"One of my best buddies and I were buddies at Bibb County High School, and he didn't make it back, and that's what I think about when I see all of this," explained veteran Ed Lightsey.

"They'll never see this, but it's marvelous what the people have done."

Veterans were met with handshakes and thanks at every turn.  An energetic end to a long and emotional day.

"We watched the changing of the guards..that was impressive," said Helen Lattal of Selma.

"I think it would be a shame for veterans--especially to die and not have an opportunity to see the World War II museum.  It's the most beautiful monument in Washington," explained veteran Howard Wilkins.

Veterans weren't alone in their travels.  50 guardians from across the River Region joined family members and perfect strangers as they absorbed the meaning of it all.

"They got to see a lot of great things and do a lot of great stuff, and for us it was just an honor to get to go," said Paul Whaley II, a guardian.

It's an honor and a homecoming long overdue--but worth every second.

"It's a great day in America to be patriotic.  We need to do that today, and if our children today had the same feelings as this generation, what a different world America would be!  We can bring that back," exclaimed Kim Cogle, daughter of veteran Gillis Cammack.

"We got to see so many monuments, and I'll go back one day and see some more," said veteran Frances Foster.