PEORIA (HOI) – The final Greater Peoria Honor Flight of 2019 takes off from the General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport in a few hours.
But, prior to their busy day, all 77 veterans gathered for a pre-flight dinner in Peoria.
It was a chance to meet the other vets and their guardians for the first time and hear speakers talk about their past experience on the honor flight.
Steven Brandt, a Vietnam veteran, is taking his first trip to Washington D.C.
The Vietnam Memorial tops his list of sights to see after having been deployed there for 13 months in the late 1960s.
“Look at some names and see if I can remember anybody’s names that I served with over there,” he said. “I spent time in (a couple cities) and Saigon so you know, just back and forth in those areas.”
“It’s one of them deals you get into communications with a radio and it’s like you got a target on your back.”
Since 2013, more than 1,500 local veterans have been on 21 honor flights to see the memorials in the nation’s capital.