SAN DIEGO — A trip of a lifetime kicked off early Friday morning for some San Diego WWII and Korean War veterans.

The group arrived at San Diego International Airport Friday morning for its fall "Tour of Honor" in the nation's capital as part of San Diego Honor Flight, and plan to visit monuments and memorials dedicated to them and their fallen comrades.

Honor Flight San Diego started flying veterans in 2010 and to date has flown over 1,400 veterans to D.C. at no cost to them. Founder, Dave Smith, said “it is the most honorable thing I have ever done in my entire life.” He started the San Diego hub in 2009 after he took his WWII USMC father on what was called a "Lone Eagle" flight.

Last year, News 8's Abbie Alford and photojournalist Mike Edison joined San Diego's war heroes as they embarked on their emotional journey all the way to Washington D.C. to experience the veterans as they were escorted from monument to monument, which for many was their first visit, and memorials dedicated to fallen soldiers. Many veterans say it’s a chance to honor those that didn’t come home.

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Another special part of this is when the veterans return home on Sunday, Oct. 6 for a heroes’ welcome home that some never got to enjoy during their service. If you want to participate, Honor Flight San Diego will be on Southwest Airlines Flight #4179 and will arrive to Terminal 2, special accommodations were made to arrive to Terminal 2. The flight arrives at 4:20 p.m. but plan to be at baggage claim by 3:30 p.m. It's a family-friendly event so wear your patriotic items to give these heroes the homecoming they may not have received when they returned from war. 

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