South Florida Vets Honored With Trip to Washington, D.C.

South Florida turned out over the weekend to pay tribute to a generation of American servicemen and women who were fighting Hitler decades before most of us were ever born.

The World War Two vets received the thanks they've earned as a program called Honor Flight celebrated them in South Florida and in the nation's Capitol.

The goal of Honor Flight is to get every South Florida WWII vet to Arlington National Cemetery and the Iwo Jima and WWII memorials.

It was a day South Florida WWII vets will never forget with a journey back in time seven decades. Well wishes abound from the time they came off their Spirit Airlines flight near Washington.

Melvin Hurwitz didn't know that his Maryland family would meet him.

"It's been a long haul...made it this far," Hurwitz said.

The youngest at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport was 87, the oldest 100. Morris Richstone, who was in the U.S. Army, was born August 9th, 1914.

"We were fighting Rommel in Africa. It seems like yesterday," Richstone said.

Only two percent of WWII vets have seen the memorial dedicated to them.

"Give them the welcome home they never got, it really means a lot to us," said Ryan Paton, with Honor Flight Operations.

Tuskegee Airman pilot LTC Leo Gray flew combat missions over Italy.

"These are historic experiences for all Americans. Not just us, but everybody," Gray said.

The trip took 89-year-old Etaline Marcus back to her dishonesty with the U.S. Navy. She had lied to about her age to get in.

"Well I told them the truth so I can get credit," she said. "After the fact I gave them my real name."

Marcus is one of the nine women on the journey who are military veterans from WWII.

"I was fortunate enough to live though all this," said Robert Brauss, with the USMC/Army Air Corp.

And the journey does honor South Florida veterans who are no longer living, including Air Force Col. Kenneth Powers.

Each Vet is assigned a volunteer guardian.

"I'm overwhelmed. I really am," Karin Edelstein said.

Back home hundreds turned out to give their thanks to these men and women whose time of service, family, and career could each fill their own book. Their ultimate bond: a time long ago when the history was in their hands.

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