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Honor Flight Columbus gives central Ohio veterans trip of a lifetime

The nonprofit organization also helps celebrate and affirm veterans' service and homecoming.

WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — Honor Flight Columbus has a mission to honor America's senior veterans with a trip to Washington D.C. to visit the nation's memorials and help them share their stories. The nonprofit organization also helps celebrate and affirm veterans' service and homecoming.

10TV's Karina Nova went to the nation’s capital on November 4 with Honor Flight Columbus.

Two American Airlines airplanes took missions 111 and 112, which included 220 local veterans and volunteers, also known as guardians.

During the one-day trip, the group visited the Marine Corps Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, the World War II Memorial, The Korean War Veterans Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Women in Military Service for America Memorial.

Veterans from every branch of the military shared their stories about serving our country. That includes Don French from North Columbus.

"This is lovely. My wife put it in for me, it's been a beautiful day," French said about the trip.

French served in Vietnam for one year. He said the Honor Flight gave them the recognition they didn't get when they returned from the war.

"When we came home, it was that deal about baby killers and what we did. We didn't intentionally hurt anybody. They didn't get a good welcome home, it was a sign of the times," he said.

On the trip, French got to visit Arlington National Cemetery, where his son, Donald Eugene French Junior, is buried. Donald French Junior served in Iraq while in the Army.

Also on the trip, a Circleville couple shared their military love story. Robert and Marylin "Cookie" Johnson still thank the military for bringing them together after 66 years of marriage. 

"I was thunderstruck the first time I saw her. She was so cute and vivacious and I thought, 'I could marry her.' And I was lucky enough that we did," Robert Johnson said.

If you'd like to nominate a veteran to go on an Honor Flight or if you'd like to volunteer to be a guardian, head over to the Honor Flight Columbus website.

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