Veterans return from 6th Central Valley Honor Flight

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Another heroes' welcome in the books as the 6th Central Valley Honor Flight mission wrapped up Wednesday. (KFSN)

Another heroes' welcome in the books as the 6th Central Valley Honor Flight mission wrapped up Wednesday.

68 veterans from all over California are now back home after the three day trip. Each of them left with their own stories of wartime and survival. And now they each are returning with a new appreciation for their service.

There's no better homecoming than cheers from hundreds of people. The World War II veterans made their way back from the trip.

"We got to meet a lot of old timers," said Clovis resident Lonnie "Pops" Rolan. "We weren't friends, but we became friends through this."

89-year-old retired minister Lonnie Rolan is also an army veteran. He has a Purple Heart and Bronze Star. His first trip to Washington, D.C. to see the World War II memorial, and several others, he said was incredible.

"Many, many of the men that was with us in the service lost their lives," Rolan said. "It brought joy to my heart to see the things that was done for them to remember them for what they have done in the past."

This is why vising Arlington National Cemetery was an emotional event for Rolan and his son Tim.

"It was like they were reliving it, not bragging, they were reliving those stories," Tim Rolan said. "Things would come out, you would watch them pause. Sometimes they would tear up, others they would laugh. They would say I haven't remembered that in a long time."

The trip which is paid for the veterans through donations is always a unique one. This time five women were on the Honor Flight. They visited the Women in Military Service Memorial.

Two veterans also honored their lost loved ones by participating in the wreath laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

"Seeing all the people that are there, The Changing of the Guard, all of that was a real blessing and a joy," Rolan said.

When the mission was complete the thanks from this crowd was returned by many of these veterans.

"I was glad that I could give my service," Rolan said. "I love America!"

These honor flights are paid through donations and organized by more than 100 volunteers.



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