The handwritten letters from school children as well as close friends and family touched the hearts of the former fighting men. And tears filled the eyes of the veterans as they read each one. The heartwarming moment at 3,700 feet would not have been possible without the help of the Honor Flight Guardians.
"All of these veterans we owe so much to. It's a very small donation on my time to be with them," Honor Flight Guardian Red Estes said.
The guardians provided one-on-one care, support and friendship for each of the 69 honor flight veterans. The guardians lifted luggage pushed wheelchairs and made sure their veteran was in the right place at the right time.
"They put a pedometer on a guardian. That guardian walked six miles in one day," Al Perry said.
The granddaughter of Air Force veteran Dave York from North Fork joined him for the trip as his guardian.
"My grandpa told me you're never going to be around to see heroes again in your life and I think he was right. It was an honor to be able to come with him," granddaughter and Honor Flight Guardian Sarah Crabtree said.
Tulare's Keith Coughran, a former Army Staff Sgt. received help from his grandson Scott Fuller.
"Just kind of being and talking with him about some his experiences...pretty eye-opening...learning more about him and what did to serve our nation, and all these men did, its humbling," honor flight guardian Scott Fuller said.
Fresno State Athletics Director Thomas Boeh took a time-out from a frantic football season to serve as a guardian for Navy veteran Jonas Kofer.
"It's a privilege to be here and help these veterans enjoy what is dedicated to them here in Washington. It's just something that we had to do," Boeh said.
More Honor Flight Guardians are needed for the next honor flight trip March.