North Dakota Veterans took their last glance at the nation’s capital on Monday.
Sunday morning, they boarded a flight sponsored by Western North Dakota Honor Flight.
Monday, they went sightseeing at sites such as the National Archives, Lincoln Memorial, Korean Memorial and World War II Memorial.
“What throws me so much is how these and all these things are all in the same area and I thought they’d be spread out all over the place,” Army Veteran Mike Welder said.
This trip was long awaited and deserved after being postponed for years because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It comes from donations, and we get donations from businesses, from service organizations, from individuals and we do a few fundraising events,” Western ND Honor Flight board member Marty Presler said.
Presler has a personal understanding of how important trips like this one to Washington D.C. are.
“I shared on a trip about three years ago with my dad and it was so touching, and he enjoyed the trip so very much, and it was something of a recognition that they deserved,” Presler said.
This was Welder’s first time but won’t be his last.
“I want to bring my wife with me because she’s never seen any of this. I did a lot of traveling when I was in the service, and I got to see the service side of it and she hasn’t,” Welder said.
Upon arriving home to Bismarck, there was a surprise from Senator John Hoeven giving a warm welcome along with family, loved ones, and other members of the military.
“Many of them came home and never got a welcome, and so It’s important that we give them that welcome and show them that we really appreciate them,” Western ND Honor Flight board member Dennis Burdolski said.
“This has been the most wonderful trip I’ve been on,” Army Veteran Ronald Wheeling said.
Organizers already have a list for the next group of veterans to go on a flight, it’s just a matter of when.
“Now we have veterans to go on future flights and we just need the funding to do it,” Burdolski said.
On the flight back home, veterans were surprised with letters that came from families and even local schools.