Community gathers at ILM to welcome veterans back from Honor Flight trip
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Community members gathered at ILM to welcome veterans returning home from their Honor Flight Trip to Washington, DC, on Saturday evening.
“We’re so thankful that Honor Flight is there, because a lot of the men are getting treated today, the way that they should have been treated when they came home,” said Brend Weible, Veteran’s daughter.
Family, friends, and community members cheered at Wilmington International Airport, as seventy-five World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War era veterans returned from their trip to Washington, DC with Honor Flight of The Cape Fear Area, accompanied by their guardians.
On the free trip, veterans visited the memorials and monuments built in their honor, for a day of remembrance.
Brenda Weible was at ILM to welcome her 82-year-old father, Robert Wiant, a Vietnam veteran back from the Honor Flight trip with her sister as his guardian. She said the trip meant a lot to him.
“A lot of tears today, as she’s been sending me pictures, of my dad and the memorial’s. He’s a Vietnam vet, and he saw the wall and touched the wall for the first time. So, it’s been very moving,” said Weible.
Members of the Oak Island Elks Lodge Veterans Committee were at the airport to welcome back one of their members, 96-year-old WWII veteran John Zebraski.
“John has been looking forward to this flight for months, really, and it’s been postponed a couple of times. So, he’s been excited it’s been a thrill for him, and it made him feel very special. He’s our last World War II veteran, we have at the lodge, and it’s exciting for everybody,” said Ed Drzewiecki, Oak Island Elks Lodge Veterans Committee member.
“I can’t believe the community support we’re getting for this. We have families, we have veteran groups, we have schools, we have scouts, we have active duty military here. The community has certainly responded,” said Jason Clamme, ‘Honor Flight of The Cape Fear’ volunteer coordinator.
This is the first time local Korea and Vietnam veterans are invited to participate in an honor Flight since THE National Honor Flight Network Opened up the program to those that served after WWII.