Mid-Michigan Honor Flight: Mission V Thanks Our Nation’s Finest

"Just fantastic. This honor group is just something else."

A trip of a lifetime for an elite group of our nation’s heros, and it’s all thanks to the Mid-Michigan Honor Flight, its dedicated board and volunteers.

Sixty-three veterans are now back home after a whirlwind day. It was a free trip to our nation’s monuments as a thank you for their service.

The Mid-Michigan Honor Flight: Mission V took the group to Washington D.C. on Wednesday.

Nine and ten’s Lynsey Mukomel and photojournalist Jacob Johnson continues our coverage with a look back at the unforgettable trip.

"These men and women left home, put their lives on hold, defended their country… This is America’s chance to give them that one collective hug," says Patricia Donegan, the hub director for Mid-Michigan Honor Flight.

Their motto is "It’s never too late to thank a veteran", creating a change for people of all ages to show appreciation for their service.

Throughout the day hundreds of people, including young children, came to give the veterans a heartwarming welcome at the airport, memorials and Michigan State University.

"I think it’s been beautiful. I’ve been so amazed at all those school children. Oh, it just made me cry," says Genevieve Jennings.

Jeninngs enlistied in the Marines during WWII, a time when women in the Armed Services weren’t taken seriously.

"That was a bunch of garbage. They didn’t understand. I said ‘You’re just jerks for feeling that way about it because we we’re doing our duty," says Jennings.

The Womens Memorial represents everything she worked for.

"This is really something. It just gives me chills because I was here when they dug the hole, then I was here when they dedicated it, then I was here for 10th anniversary for another program and its really so big," says Jennings.

Some memorials triggered the darker memories these brave veterans have.

Remus resident Vernon Doerr fought in Korea.

"I visited the Korean and that hit home. It’s hard to explain, we lost 17 men over there most of it was sniper fire things like that," says Doerr.

For others like Navy veteran Harvey Alley, this trip let them reflect on their service while viewing these memorials for the very first time.

"I went in as a kid off the streets of New York City without any responsibility whatsoever and they made a man of me. I’m so happy to be here. It’s a solemn occasion but a joyful occasion look at all of the people having fun and you know we were responsible and had a part in that," says Alley.

Each flight costs upwards of $110,000, which includes rooming, food and the trip. For more information on the Mid-Michigan Honor Flight, visit their website.