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'It brought tears to my eyes': Local WWII veterans ride in vintage plane to honor their service

It was all thanks to Dream Flights, a non-profit group that travels the country flying veterans in the plane at no cost.

HOLLAND, Mich. — It was the memory of a lifetime for local WWII veterans at the West Michigan Regional Airport Tuesday morning.

Six veterans ranging in ages from 94 to 103 each took a ride in a 1942 Boeing Stearman, the same airplane used to train military aviators in the 1940s. 

It was all thanks to Dream Flights, a non-profit group that travels the country flying veterans in the plane at no cost. 

This summer, their focus is on honoring WWII veterans, and they're calling it "Operation September Freedom". 

"We're at the point now where we're losing our World War II veterans," said Tim Gardner, a pilot with Dream Flights, "and there's not going to be a lot of opportunities left to be able to honor them."

Before their flights, the veterans were greeted with a procession of American flags and a salute. 

"This is something else," said 94-year-old Lew Wood, "coming into an honor guard like that brought tears came to my eyes."

"The experience is very rewarding," said Gardner, "being able to give back to these amazing veterans who gave so much that allows us to do what we're doing today."

You can learn more about Dream Flights and find out ways you can help the organization by clicking here.

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