KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — HonorAir Knoxville Flight No. 30 departed from McGhee Tyson Airport Wednesday morning to take more than 130 East Tennessee military veterans to Washington, D.C.

The veterans are traveling to Washington in the 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.

Before takeoff, local leaders spoke about the significance of the event since it’s the first flight HonorAir Knoxville has conducted since October 2019.

Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon said she was honored to be there and help send off the veterans. Tennessee Congressman and former Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) also spoke ahead of the flight. Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs was also in attendance.

The veterans and volunteers aides were served breakfast ahead of the flight. Takeoff was scheduled for 9 a.m. out of TYS.

HonorAir Knoxville was established and is presented by Prestige Cleaners. Its goal is 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.

“These veterans made a great sacrifice for their country. We are proud to honor this group of special people,” Mannis said.

Since October 2007 HonorAir has taken 29 flights and more than 3700 East Tennessee veterans to D.C.

The veterans will return to Knoxville Wednesday evening, where they will be welcomed back with cheering crowds and smiling faces. The public is invited to welcome the veterans at McGhee Tyson Airport.