SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – 26 of Utah’s veterans from various wars in America’s history boarded a Southwest Airlines flight to the nation’s capitol this morning on the Utah Honor Flight.
The ceremony began bright and early this morning with a speech by Governor Gary Herbert before they were shuttled to the airport.
There they received a heroes welcome. Bagpipes playing leading the way from the entrance, through the terminal, and towards the gate where they waited for their flight to take off to Washington D.C.
People stopped and cheered. Shook hands with the veterans and thanked them for their service. They took photos of the procession in one of the biggest Utah Honor Flight celebrations yet.
“It’s amazing all the people clapping and cheering as we went by,” said Ralph Davis a veteran of the Korean War.
Jay Rigby, a Korea-Vietnam War veteran added, “I thought it was great with all the fanfare and everything we got more of a reception than President Trump did!”
Among those traveling were the Davis Brothers. Three of them served in World War II; the other in Korea. As they sat at the gate they shared with us stories of the war and the one time Joseph was given the chance by his Army officer to visit with his Navy brother docked out at sea during the war after months of not seeing him.
“He said ‘that’s the ship your brothers on would you like to see him?’ And I said ‘yes!’ So they got me a PT boat, for the type of PT boat, ran me out to the ship and I surprised my brother aboard ship,” he said.
The two chatted for awhile before he left and they “got back to work.”
The brothers also chatted about the reception back home after the war, and we learned that Jim was the best at the jitterbug and a poker champion in the Navy, something Joseph had no idea about until today.
“That’s the first time I’ve ever heard that, is that right?” said Joseph.
“That’s how he got that money to buy that [inaudible] place!,” said Ralph.
After all these years these brothers are still learning so much about each other. This weekend they’ll get the chance to make more memories as they visit the memorials raised in their honor for their selfless sacrifice and patriotism to our country.
The average costs to send just one veteran on the Honor Flight runs around $1,000 and there has been an increase in veteran applications to go on the flight. If you’d like to help you can long on to the Utah Honor Flight website to donate.