Honor Flight vets to get big return

American troops who returned from World War II and the Korean War often came home and went back to their jobs or schools without any special ceremonies.

The organizers of Saturday’s Brushy Creek Area Honor Flight want to make up for that lack of fanfare by having a huge crowd at Fort Dodge Regional Airport to cheer the veterans when they get back from Washington, D.C.

”We want as many people as possible from all over our area to come out and give them the kind of homecoming they most likely didn’t get when they came back from the war,” said Crystal McGaughy, a member of the committee organizing the flight.

The flight is scheduled to land at 10:30 p.m. Saturday. McGaughy said that people wishing to greet the veterans should begin gathering at the airport at about 10 p.m.

She said people can bring flags and signs bearing welcoming messages. Materials for making signs will be provided at the airport, she added.

Cheering crowds greeted the returning veterans who traveled on the five previous local Honor Flights. McGaughy has witnessed the emotional impact those welcoming parties had on the veterans.

”I’ve been there as they came off the plane,” she said. ”They were amazed. It’s very emotional. I’ve seen some of them brought to tears.”

The Honor Flight will leave Fort Dodge at 7 a.m. Saturday to take about 100 veterans to see the various war memorials in Washington, D.C.