A Hero’s Welcome Home for U.P. Honor Flight: Mission V

Upper Michigan World War II and Korean War veterans spent the day touring the Washington D.C. monuments they helped forge during their time overseas.

Dozens of former service men and women boarded a jumbo jet at the Delta County Airport this morning, bound for the nation’s capitol. It was the fifth mission for the U.P. Honor Flight, an organization that takes veterans to D.C. free of charge. The Michigan Patriot Guard led the way this morning with a motorcade escort right up to the runway.

“The only thing that we want to do is, we want to pay tribute to them because of the service that they provided for us,” Michigan Patriot Guard ride captain Jeffrey Aalto. “They protected our freedoms that we hold today.”

“We’re very grateful also to have representation from the Dominic Jacobetti Home as part of our Michigan affairs agency,” Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs senior policy adviser Jason Allen said. “Those are all great men that have done a wonderful job in such a special part of Michigan.”

As he’s done in years past, Congressman Dan Benishek stopped by to lend his support. The Honor Flight had a full day of activity with stops at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Lincoln Memorial and many other historic landmarks.

A plane full of Mission Five veterans landed in Delta County about a half hour late, but there were plenty on hand to give them a hero’s welcome home.

“We had a great time,” said Wally Evance, a WWII Navy veteran.

“It was so wonderful. I never had so much honor in all my life,” remarked Elmer Emerson, who served with Wally in WWII. “I told him I felt like Caesar coming back to Rome after he conquered France.”

If you’d like to donate to the cause and help send even more vets on Mission VI, you can head to their website www.upperpeninsulahonorflight.org.