World War II veterans honored at Boise airport, heading for Washington D.C.

The trip is made possible by Honor Flight of Idaho
Posted at 1:49 PM, Sep 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-07 04:59:16-04

Two dozen Idaho World War II veterans received star treatment at the Boise airport Tuesday morning as they prepared to board their Honor Flight to Washington, D.C.

Over the last five years, Honor Flight of Idaho has taken more than 150 Idaho World War II vets to the nation's capital to get an up close look and the monuments and memorials built in their honor.

"We see a lot of emotion on this trip," Honor Flight of Idaho director Lance Stephensen said. "The families tell me when we get back, 'I brought back a different man than I took,' because they really come out of their shell about talking about their service."

This year's travelers come from all over the Gem State including Boise, Nampa, Caldwell, Twin Falls, Pocatello, Sun Valley and McCall. The youngest veteran on board is 89 years old and the oldest is 96.

Stephensen says the trip is a way to say thanks, even if it's several decades late.

"The problem is they came back from the war and started building this country and they didn't look over their shoulder about who was going to thank them down the road," Stephensen said. "So we're thanking them now for something that should've been done 70 years ago."

The group is accompanied by guardians to assist with wheelchairs and other needs throughout the trip. They'll visit several monuments, with the first and longest stop being the World War II Memorial.

From there, the men and women will see memorials for the Korean and Vietnam wars, the Lincoln Memorial, the Pentagon, the Whitehouse and the Capitol. Their last stop will be at Arlington Cemetery to lay a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The veterans will return to Boise Thursday afternoon.