KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A group of veterans who served in the United States Armed Forces journeyed to Washington, D.C. on Wednesday thanks to HonorAir Knoxville. It was the group’s HonorAir 32nd flight.
Flight 32 departed from Knoxville at 8:25 a.m. Wednesday and returned around 7:40 p.m. More than 130 veterans who served overseas were in attendance. The public was invited to a Welcome Home Celebration at McGhee Tyson Airport on Wednesday night.
The veterans traveled to Washington in a one-day, all-expense paid trip to see the World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War memorials, the Marine, Navy and Air Force memorials, and the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon accompanied the group on the journey. She shared on Twitter Wednesday morning her excitement and thanked founder Eddie Mannis and all the volunteers who make the trips possible.
HonorAir Knoxville was established and is presented by Prestige Cleaners with a goal to honor East Tennessee World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War veterans by flying them to Washington D.C. to see the memorials built in their honor. Eddie Mannis, president of Prestige Cleaners and Prestige Tuxedos, is the Founder and Chairman of HonorAir Knoxville.
Since October 2007 HonorAir has taken 31 flights and thousands of East Tennessee veterans to Washington, D.C.
The veterans returned to Knoxville Wednesday evening, where they were welcomed back with cheering crowds and smiling faces. A live stream event of the Welcome Home Celebration can be viewed above.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated.