Honor Flight Vet, “It was the Greatest Day of my Life!” - TribPapers
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Honor Flight Vet, “It was the Greatest Day of my Life!”

Veterans arrive to a hero’s welcome. Photo submitted.

AshevilleThe veterans who were flown to DC and honored at their respective memorials on Saturday, April 23rd, returned home to a huge crowd of grateful Americans. The Asheville airport was standing room only. 

Even before they landed the atmosphere was one of anticipation, with folks sharing stories and waiting with open hearts for these vets, many of whom never received a heroes welcome. 

Prior to the arrival of the honor flight the Montreat Drum and Pipe Corp played Amazing Grace paying homage for those who didn’t make it home from war. Afterwards they led the veterans of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam through a tunnel of American flags and cheers of welcome. 

The large crowd was enthusiastic, holding signs that said Welcome Home, and You Are Not Forgotten. Many in the crowd saluted and shook the vet’s hands, telling them, “Welcome home.”

Comments heard from the vets as they passed by were, “This is amazing,” “What a welcome.” “This should have happened 50 years ago.” One vet said to a lady holding the You Are Not Forgotten sign, “You don’t know how much that means. Thank you. Thank you so much.” 

But perhaps the most poignant moment was when a disabled Vietnam veteran was wheeled in, wiping tears from his eyes and saying, “This has been the greatest day of my life.”

It is this writer’s hope that these trreasured veterans, who answered when duty called, can finally have some closure for their families and themselves. 

A special thanks is extended to the Blue Ridge Honor Flights and AdventHealth for making this event possible. 

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