Long before the veterans ever touched down in Washington, the work to make their visit even more memorable started several days before. So we bring you back home for a moment to Teresa Calhoun's 6th grade class at Prattville Intermediate School.
With a few strokes of a marker, the children colored their flags, spelled out their banners and worked-up some serious excitement at the mere thought of meeting some battle-tested heroes of yesterday.
"It's going to be really cool," said Matthew Fells.
Really 'cool' would be a colossal understatement for Fells.
"I think it's really awesome to meet the Honor Flight veterans," Fells said.
"I think it will be emotional," said Miller.
Boy, was it ever! The veterans didn't have a clue as we made our way to the monument by bus after we landed in Washington.
At the memorial a thunderous applause and cheers from Calhoun's class greeted the vets. One clearly was stunned and another overcome with emotions.
"I can't believe it. I can't believe what I'm seeing. This is astounding," said veteran C.D. Allen.
History teacher Jenny Gray says this is the least they could do.
"This is the Greatest Generation that stepped up without asking questions," said Gray.
A handshake here, a smile there, a connection between the veterans and the very young.
"I don't know them but I can feel their spirit," said 6th grader Andrea Gerner.
In all that we saw at the front entrance of the war monument, perhaps the effort and care the students put into this surprise greeting came down to this; a student showing his thanks with a salute. An old soldier returned the favor.
Honor Flight organizers say a 4th trip is in the works but they're not sure yet whether that flight will take place in the fall or next spring.