KNOXVILLE (WATE) — HonorAir sent more than 136 East Tennessee Vietnam War veterans to Washington D.C. Wednesday.
The organization takes veterans from the area to visit Washington D.C. memorials honoring their sacrifice. Knoxville HonorAir has taken more than 3,100 veterans to the nation’s capital.
“I’m just looking for the excitement of the monuments, all the history of Washington D.C.,” said veteran Paul Mynatt.
Mynatt and his cousins, Jerry and David, all served in Vietnam and were all proud to travel with Honor Air.
“I went over in ’69. David went over in ’69 and we’ve never had a welcome home and this is just so wonderful,” said Paul.
Veterans also saw the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery and drove past the Navy Memorial.
“It means a great deal to see everybody who gave their lives up for this country,” said Jerry Mynatt.
For many of them like Phil Holt it was a chance to say “thank you” to friends who never got to come home. Holt took the trip with a group who grew up together and served together.
“One of our classmates died in Vietman. His name is on the wall – Young High School class of 1964 – and we’re going up there to leave this shadow box where he’s located on the wall,” Holt said.
Veterans will return to Knoxville at 8:15 p.m. The public is encouraged to attend to show their support.
“When we return home and our veterans see all the flags, patriotic balloons and people lined up to welcome them they are incredibly touched that people care about the sacrifices they made for their country,” said HonorAir Chairman Eddie Mannis.
It was a whirlwind trip that will leave a lifetime of memories.
“Oh it’s great yeah. They say it’s a good trip and we’re going to find out,” said Jerry Mynatt.