WEST PALM BEACH — On Saturday, April 9, Palm Beach International Airport will be the place to be as Southeast Florida Honor Flight returns from its first Honor Flight mission of the 2022 season. At 7:20 p.m., 78 veterans from World War II, the Korean and Vietnam Wars will be returning from a full day of being honored, and celebrated in Washington, D.C., courtesy of Southeast Florida Honor Flight. As in the past, thousands of individuals gather at Palm Beach International Airport to welcome the veterans home from their epic journey and to honor them for their brave and selfless service to our country. Operation Homecoming, which features music, flags, loads of laughter, and a chance to share the memory of a lifetime with American heroes, is free and open to the public.
Veterans who will be returning on April 9 from the daylong excursion to visit Washington, D.C. and all of the various monuments and memorials to honor their service to our freedom, will include heroes like Army aviator and second-generation veteran John Liguori, who was awarded with the National Defense Service Medal, the Bronze Star Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross, and several others for his service during the Vietnam War. Each veteran on the trip is flown at no cost to Washington, D.C., where they are served throughout the day by a volunteer guardian who has been trained to ensure the safety and enjoyment of each hero veteran flying.
When they arrive home at 7:20 p.m., after an awesome day, please help with one more ginormous surprise in store for the veterans as they are greeted by thousands of happy faces of all ages who have come to the airport to greet them when they return. Even if you don’t know anyone on the flight, you will meet hundreds of individuals before the bagpipes begin to play, signaling the veterans’ safe homecoming, and you’ll have a chance to cheer the veterans through the final steps of the day, most say they remember as second only to their weddings and births of their children. Well-wishers are encouraged to bring signs, flags, and smiles to share with the veterans and guardians as they return, and you are guaranteed to walk away from the event with a lump in your throat, a smile on your face, and gratitude and pride in your heart for these humble heroes you’ve helped welcome home. Remember, some of these veterans never had the welcome home they so deserve.
If you, your neighbors, your church or social group, or family and friends are interested in being part of something special, please mark your calendars now for Saturday, April 9, at 7:20 p.m. at Palm Beach International Airport. Volunteers from the ground crew will direct you on where to go, but be ready for a heartwarming homecoming for some very special veterans and volunteers. To learn more about Southeast Florida Honor Flight and how you can become involved, please visit www.honorflightsefl.org today.