SAN DIEGO — On Monday evening, Honor Flight team leaders filled care packages with special memorabilia for the 83 World War II and Korean War veterans about to embark on a trip of a lifetime.
“It is really nice now to be able to share their history, especially the World War II veterans because time is critical for them,” said Saundra Cima, Honor Flight San Diego team leader and director.
For the past nine years, Honor Flight San Diego has flown over 1,000 World War II and Korean Veterans – many who are in their 90s and 100s and part of the Greatest Generation – to Washington, D.C. to visit their memorials.
Dave Smith, who is the Honor Flight San Diego founder, said “it is the most honorable thing I have ever done in my entire life.”
Smith founded Honor Flight San Diego in 2010, after being his father’s guardian on another Honor Flight. He has been on every single Honor Flight since then.
“I am reaching close to 1,400 veterans,” he said.
News 8 reporter Abbie Alford and photojournalist Mike Edison will be embedded with veterans this coming week as they visit memorials in Washington, D.C.
The trip will include a mail call with some veterans receiving letters for the first time. The letters have been written by local students.
“We have some very interesting veterans on our trip. Plus, we have the first woman that was the first woman commander,” said Cima.
A volunteer told News 8: “We are not America without them.”
Honor Flight is synonymous with amazing stories. Make sure to follow Abbie Alford all weekend long with San Diego veterans as they make their emotional journey to Washington D.C.
Honor Flight kicks off Friday on News 8 at 6 a.m.