Saluting The Brave: The First Inland NW Honor Flight of 2014 Tak - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Saluting The Brave: The First Inland NW Honor Flight of 2014 Takes Off

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SPOKANE, Wash – It was an emotional morning at the Spokane International Airport as nearly 90 veterans of World War II, Korea and Vietnam gathered together, along with their families and supporters, bound for Washington D.C. to see the memorials dedicated to the battles they fought and the friends they lost.

“Oh golly, I get kind of choked up when I think about all those memorials because those are the real heroes, those guys who gave us the liberties and the freedom we have today,” WWII Navy Veteran Al Messenger told KHQ’s Kelsey Watts. “It’ll be an honor to go visit them.”

Messenger is one of the many veterans traveling on this first Inland Northwest Honor Flight of 2014, which takes our heroes to our nation’s capital at no cost to them – their service is payment enough.

The trip is partially made possible thanks to a 14-year-old from Chewelah, Justin Peterson, who began fundraising for Honor Flight at the age of 9 and has since raised $75,000 for the mission. Peterson was on hand for the send-off at the airport Tuesday morning and was met with a crowd of handshakes and applause.

While the Honor Flight pays tribute to veterans from decades ago, this flight is dedicated to three Fairchild airmen who lost their lives in a tanker crash in Kyrgyzstan in 2013: Capt. Mark T. Voss, 27, Capt. Victoria A. Pinckney, 27, and Tech Sgt. Herman Mackey III, 30. Pinckney’s mother was among those in attendance Tuesday.

“It’s our very small way of honoring them and making sure their service and sacrifice are not forgotten,” Inland Northwest Honor Flight Director Tony Lamanna told the crowd.

“My aviators never gave up, this greatest generation never gave up and today we see that tie,” Col. Brian Newberry told KHQ’s Kelsey Watts.

The Honor Flight returns to Spokane at 8:00 p.m. Wednesday, and the public is encouraged to attend and welcome our heroes home.

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