People who wish to thank and honor a group of World War II veterans before and after their Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., may gather in the terminal of Buffalo Niagara International Airport on Saturday for the send-off and homecoming ceremonies of the first Honor Flight Buffalo flight of the year.
The veterans, who are being taken to Washington to see the National World War II Memorial and other patriotic sights, include 25 men and a woman ranging in age from 86 to 90. They served as machine-gunners on B-17, B-24 and B-25 bombers, radio operators and infantrymen, along with working in transportation units and guarding prisoners.
One of them earned two Bronze Stars, and many of them received Purple Hearts. They were at the Battle of the Bulge and the Nuremberg Trials and served in Germany, Austria, the Pacific, China, Burma, India, the Philippines and Japan, said Lisa A. Wylie, a co-founder and current president of Honor Flight Buffalo.
The departure ceremony begins at 5:15 a.m., and the emotional welcome-home ceremony begins at 10 p.m., both on the upper level of the terminal. Those who attend are encouraged to bring flags and signs thanking the veterans; a limited number of both will be available.
Regular parking fees must be paid by those who use the airport’s lots.
Honor Flight Buffalo is a 501(c)3 registered charity that has transported 240 World War II veterans to Washington since it was founded in 2009. Each veteran is escorted by a guardian who pays his or her own way. Veterans fly for free.
The second Honor Flight of the spring season is scheduled for June 15.