Standing room only at airport as Honor Flight veterans return - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Standing room only at Preston Smith airport as Honor Flight veterans return

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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

It was standing room only at the Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport as a trail of people lined a walkway and eagerly awaited the return of our nation's heroes.

The South Plains Honor Flight landed at 10:17 p.m. and nearly 100 World War II veterans touched ground.

"It was overwhelming," said Joseph DoPadre, an 87-year-old retired Army veteran.

It is estimated that more than 1,000 World War II veterans are dying each day. So our time to thank these brave men and women is running out. But the South Plains community wasted no time giving these true American heroes the homecoming they truly deserve.

"I thought there would be a few people here but there's a heck of a bunch," said Pat Thurman, an 87-year-old Army veteran.

The South Plains Honor Flight is an opportunity for veterans to fly to Washington DC and see first hand the memorials built in their honor; some of them for the first time and sadly, some of them for the last time.

They say this trip meant the world to them.

"I was honored to take a wreath to the wall," DoPadre said.

Joseph Dopadre is a World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War survivor. Perhaps the most heart-wrenching moment for him was the solemn march to the Vietnam Veteran's memorial.

This trip of a lifetime could not have been possible without the generous donations of the South Plains community.

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