'Heroes Flight' Takes Vets to Visit WWII Memorial

October 6, 2010 Updated Oct 6, 2010 at 12:27 PM EDT

By WKBW Programming

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October 6, 2010 Updated Oct 6, 2010 at 12:27 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - For WWII vets including Richard Keil a trip to Washington D-C is a flashback to the 1940's.

"This brings back many of the fond memories as well as the tragic memories," Keil said.

Three dozen vets traveled to the nation's capital on the "Western New York Heroes Flight" to see the WWII memorial.

Edward Kolek brought along a keepsake from when he served.

"I was issued this napsack in 1943. It's legitimately from 1943. I thought I'd bring it along to feel like old times again," Kolek said.

All the men and women flew for free, thanks to local Senator George Maziarz and donations from businesses and community members. The day was even started with military send off at the airport, color guard and all.

"For many of them this will be the first and in some instances the last time they'll ever see this memorial that they fought so hard for when they were 17and 18 years old to preserve freedom for the entire world," Maziarz said.

For others the trip reinforced their undying patriotism.

"I never felt this was an obligation. I felt it was a pleasure and an opportunity that the American people afforded me," Kolek said.

Along with the free ticket, the vets said they got another gift that had them going to Washington in style.

"Free tickets and a new t-shirt. This is just a wonderful tribute," Keil said.

The vets also said it was a bonding experience, some coming together with fellow comrades for the first time since the war.