Honor Flight veterans return home from WWII memorial

It was a great way to celebrate mother’s day.

Forty – eight World War II veterans return home from their honor flight. The servicemen and a few women spent several days in Washington, D.C. taking a tour of their very own memorial.

Mae Simmons could see the pride in her grandfather’s face. “It was really nice to see him come back when he showed up,” said Simmons. “He just had that smile on his face.”

A smile that grew even brighter as Virgil Simmons greeted his wife, family and friends for the first time following an emotional journey. “It was well–deserved, I was touched,” said Mae. “It was like a welcome home that he never had before.”

 Hundreds of people welcomed home Virgil and other World War II Veterans who had the opportunity to take the honor flight. The veterans were eager to share their experience. They toured D.C. visiting the sites including the Lincoln Memorial and most importantly, the memorial dedicated to them and the war they helped fight.

Many veterans like Arnie Koski weren’t sure what to expect last week when they left. “Didn’t think I’d want to go on this trip but a person gave me a piece of paper and said you’re going, send it in,” said Koski on Thursday. “So that’s what I did and we’ll see what’s it all about.”

But today there was no doubt.

“It was a fabulous experience, something I will never forget and one of my most memorable events in my lifetime,” said Koski, who is also a Korean War Veteran.

A memorable event that’s sure to last in photos and emotions that are sure to last a lifetime in their hearts.

“I’ve never been treated like that in my life,” said Virgil. “It’s unexplainable how much gratitude those guys had to go and see the memorial,” said his granddaughter Mae. “To see the memorial to see that was something that was built for them because of their hard work and dedication and love for the country. It’s truly amazing.”

One more South Dakota honor flight is scheduled for June. More than 200 World War II veterans are on the waiting list.

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