"WNY HEROES FLIGHT" Takes Older Veterans to DC.

October 18, 2013 Updated Oct 19, 2013 at 5:20 PM EDT

By Ed Reilly

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October 18, 2013 Updated Oct 19, 2013 at 5:20 PM EDT


WASHINGTON, D.C. (WKBW) Over two dozen Western New York Veterans received a special gift to thank them for their service to the Country: They were taken on a free trip to see the Nation's War Memorials.

The group also included several volunteer "Guardians" who helped the senior veterans as they traveled.

The World War II and Korean War veterans are now aged in their 80's and 90's and all were thrilled to be part of the "WNY Heroes Flight."

Sponsored by NY State Senator George Maziarz with support from USA Niagara Development Corporation, it was the fifth time that Maziarz has taken a group of veterans.

On their way out of Buffalo, the group walked past Patriot Guard members who held flags and saluted.

Thanks to donations from the Walmart Foundation and Mulvey Construction from Lockport, the trip's $20,000 cost was covered.

Health System Services of Niagara also donated wheelchairs and medical devices to help the veterans get around Washington.

Upon arrival in Baltimore to board busses for the Nation's Capitol, a large crowd of travelers offered thanks and cheered them on.

A highlight of the trip was seeing the World War II memorial, where Congressman Chris Collins personally welcomed each veteran to Washington.

The trip also included stops at the Korean War Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, and the Iwo Jima Memorial.

Even after a busy day of touring, the tributes were not over.

Crew members on the Southwest Airlines return flight thanked the veterans which resulted in spontaneous applause from all the passengers.

Touching down in Buffalo, the plane taxied past Niagara Frontier Transit Authority Fire and Police vehicles with emergency lights flashing as a sign of respect.