FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --The ninth Central Valley Honor Flight touched down Wednesday night to a crowd of cheering fans and supporters at the Fresno Yosemite International Airport. But it wasn't just the trip to Washington D.C. that was so memorable for these veterans.
A group of war veterans returned to Fresno for one last operation.
"It was all great, it was just stuff I'd never seen before. It was beautiful," said Edward Kellerhalsi, World War II Veteran.
The plan called for 67 of our nation's toughest heroes to travel to Washington D.C. and see the memorials built in their honor. The three-day mission for Kellerhals was at times more emotional than he could handle.
"I had to cry, I just could not believe the people, my god. I had never seen people (like that), and they wanted to hold you and hug you."
Kellerhals served in World War II during the occupation of Japan. He returned home Wednesday with his comrades to a royal homecoming
"I can't believe the meeting we've had here. I can't. It just blows my mind. I don't know how many sailors were there, on both sides, standing and saluting us," said George Ross Dille, Korena War Veteran.
The veterans walked out to a medley of songs, saluted by sailors, and cheered on by hundreds of friends and family. The homemade signs, balloons, and flags barely scratching the surface of their appreciation.
"It's just an honor to see these guys come back through this crowd," said Gary Wright, volunteer.
Before leaving the plane each veteran received a bag full of letters from family members, and even strangers, thanking them for their service.
The Honor Flight may be over for these men and women, but memories of the trip and the words of appreciation will always remind them their service will never be forgotten.
"It was an exhausting trip, but very fulfilling," said Dille.
There are two more Honor Flights set for this year.
As always, donations go towards paying for these veterans' travel costs.