Local veterans recognized with trip to Washington D.C.

Local veterans recognized with trip to Washington D.C.

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WASHINGTON D.C. (WBNG) -- The Twin Tiers Honor Flight commended veterans for their service by taking them on a trip to Washington D.C. on Saturday.

A group of 54 veterans from around the Southern Tier and Northern Tier of Pennsylvania were accompanied by guardians or family members on a flight to Washington D.C. for the day.

"I'm honored, I am very honored. I spent mostly two years in Korea and saw quite a bit of action," Veteran Marvin Kaplan of Binghamton said. "This is a great moment for me, going back down to Washington D.C. and seeing all of the monuments."

The flight took off just after 8 a.m. Saturday from the Greater Binghamton regional airport and headed to Reagan National airport in Arlington, Virginia. Veterans got a warm welcome with a live band and cheers.

"It is very stirring to be here, with all of these other veterans and be one of them. to think of what the men had to go through and I really enjoyed seeing it, here in Washington," Navy Veteran Bill Kosik of Binghamton said.

The last time the organization did the flight from Binghamton was 2014. Veterans visited several monuments including Iwo Jima, Arlington Cemetery, and the World War II Memorial.

Organizers said being part of the flight is a rewarding way to appreciate our veterans.

"A lot of them did not receive the proper welcome home and this is our chance to do that. The community comes together to support our veterans and let them know that we really appreciate all that they have done for us," Vickie Weiner, medical coordinator of Twin Tiers Honor Flight, said.

Former senator Bob Dole happened to be outside the World War II Memorial on Saturday.

"A lot of tears were shed because they think about when they were young, what they did and their family and somebody that didn't make it back," Dole said (R).

"It was really messed up when we came home and you hear about the Iraqi veterans heroes, but that didn't happen when we came home," said Vietnam veteran Johnny Gillingham of Little Meadows, Pennsylvania.

The veterans returned back to the airport Saturday evening with their families anxiously awaiting their arrival. The director of Twin Tiers Honor Flight, Nancy Kane said donations from individual and corporate sponsors are needed for the next flight.

The date for that is still undecided. The organization needs to raise roughly $75,000 for the next flight.

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