Roy Huskey, a World War II veteran, was in the group of more than 130 veterans at McGhee Tyson Airport Wednesday morning.
“I’ll be 99 years old April 9. I’ll be 99. I’m going for 100,” he said.
He was oldest to board the Honor Air flight.
The veterans left for our nation’s capital to see the monuments built in their honor.
“Well, I’m looking forward to seeing the monument for World War II veterans. People that live in Washington up there told me it’s the prettiest one in the bunch. I don’t know. I’ve not seen it,” Huskey said.
HonorAir has taken 27 flights so far, carrying more than 3,400 veterans.
The volunteers working for Honor Air, many veterans themselves, are moved by their stories.
“I’ll have the pleasure of getting to visit with these folks. And the World War II guys I’m talking to, I’m getting to talk to guys who we’re reading about in the history books. I’m hearing the real story of what they went through,” said flight coordinator Jim Cundall.
Those include stories like Huskey’s.
“I made it from Omaha Beach to Saint-Lo. That’s 20 miles up in France, and I got shell hit and that went and knocked me out. I stayed in the hospital almost a year,” he said.
It is those sacrifices they honor with a salute and a photo, many thanks and a ceremony to wish them well, and handshakes as they board for a trip sure to invoke many emotions.
“I was a flying medic, and one of them told me, he said, ‘Jim, y’all came in and you take them away. We didn’t get to say goodbye. This is our chance to say goodbye,” Cundall said.
The next flight is scheduled for next April. Any veteran interested in taking part can find out more at www.honorairknoxville.com.