BOISE – There was a lot of patriotism at the Boise Airport Tuesday as 26 World War II veterans got the chance to be a part of the second Honor Flight in Idaho.
The Honor Flight takes men and women veterans to Washington D.C. to see the monument built in their honor, something they've never done before.
Bagpipes, American Flags and the national anthem were just a few of the things done to honor and recognize the 26 veterans who fought for this country some 70 years ago.
Standing, some sitting in wheelchairs, waited for their flight, anticipating what the next two days held.
"Oh boy, very excited. I could hardly sleep last night thinking about this trip," said Jack Stuart who joined the Navy and at the age of 19 operated a 45 ton crane in the South Pacific.
Stuart, now 86, is one of the youngest people to be on this honor flight.
"This is great that the World War II veterans are receiving all this recognition. It's very rewarding," said Stuart.
Carl Olson enlisted in his early 20’s and now, at the age of 97 is one of the oldest.
He says he's not excited for the trip, in fear of raising his blood pressure, still plans to enjoy the experience. He’s looking forward to watching the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
There was a lot of symbolism at the airport, starting with the Patriot Guard Riders holding American flags as these heroes walked by.
"It's emotional for me to, just to be able to honor to them and pay tribute," said Craig Lewis, a member of the Patriot Guard Riders.
At the gate, waiting for their plane which was delayed, some of the vets pulled out their harmonicas and jammed. Others sang patriotic hymns.
What was supposed to be a national anthem duet by two police officers, turned into a chorus. And for these veterans, the words of that song, that we hear so often, rang true.
"We don't know all these men and women went through, the sacrifices they made on behalf of this nation," said Idaho Adjutant General Gary Sayler.
As they boarded the plane, a joint Military Honor Guard gave them a saber salute, a very high military honor, a fitting way for these warriors to be honored as they make their way across the country.
"I think it's a great opportunity for them to see something dedicated in their names. It's about time they got to go," said Lance Stephensen, Director of Honor Flight Idaho.
Once boarded, the Southwest flight they were on received a water cannon salute, the highest form of respect in aviation.
Southwest Airlines donated the airline tickets and hotels donated rooms. The group will return on Thursday. We'll follow up with them when they return home to see how the trip went.