Vietnam vets have emotional homecoming after Honor Flight trip

Vietnam vets returned home from an Honor Flight trip and were greeted with a big reception at Austin Bergstrom International Airport on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. (KXAN Photo: Tim Holcomb)
Vietnam vets returned home from an Honor Flight trip and were greeted with a big reception at Austin Bergstrom International Airport on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. (KXAN Photo: Tim Holcomb)

AUSTIN (KXAN) – About 100 Vietnam War veterans returned home to Central Texas Saturday evening, after visiting our nation’s capital on behalf of Honor Flight.

It’s an experience they said was special for them, and the reception they received upon arrival back at Austin Bergstrom International Airport brought out an emotional response.

“It was my first time in D.C. I really enjoyed it, and I wish everybody could do it,” said Alerse Martinez, Vietnam veteran. “This, I think, is great. I wish we would have had this 50 years ago. It would have been different.”

They were met upstairs in the airport terminal’s west ticketing area with a welcome home greeting from a big crowd.

“How could you not want this? This is something. We never had it. None of these guys had it. That is why I guess it’s really important they had this,” said Bruch Hunesperger, another Vietnam veteran who was on the trip.

Trips on Honor Flight are made possible at no cost to the veterans through donations.

“As I was walking down the aisle here, I had tears streaming down my eyes because it’s the most overwhelming thing I have seen,” said Vietnam veteran Charlie Barton, another trip participant. “It’s just unbelievable –everything about it is top notch.”

Honor Flight Austin is a non-profit organization created to honor veterans by transporting them to visit and reflect at their war memorials. Honor Flight Austin serves veterans residing within Bastrop, Bell, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Fayette, Gillespie, Gonzales, Hays, Lee, Llano, Milam, Travis and Williamson counties.

To support Honor Flight Austin or to learn more about the organization go to www.honorflightaustin.org.

This was the fifth Honor Flight this year.

KXAN.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s