Freedom is Not Free: Honor Flight New England

Veterans Voices

American sprit on display across the northeast. 

Bikers banded together. 

Boy scouts, firefighters, flag teams and police chiefs and passersby’s. 

All walks of life in Manchester, New Hampshire…coming together for one purpose. 

The purpose is to personally thank forty veterans for their service 

You might think a famous rock band is rolling through the airport terminal. 

WWII, Korea and Vietnam war veterans are set to embark on a day that is packed with remarkable moments. 

It’s the first time you might be happy, your flight is delayed. 

“They are overwhelmed by the sunrises and the handshakes and the hugs because they don’t expect any of it,” said Honor Flight New England leader Joe Byron. 

It’s the mission of Honor Flight New England, to honor the most senior veterans. 

Like the VIP of VIPS during this trip, 102-year old Louise Fleming, who served in WWII as an army nurse. 

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“I couldn’t just walk through I had to wave back. It reminded me of when I was in the service. We always said when we got depressed…. just get us a parade. That’s all we needed. And that’s how I felt today. So this was your parade? This was my parade., “said Fleming. 

Their tour takes them to each war memorial in the nation’s capital. 

It’s there that ten loved ones were waiting to surprise Ansel Braseth. 

A heart full of gratitude for those who made it all possible. 

“Let me tell ya. God in heaven must have a special place in heaven for you,” said Braseth. 

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It’s a day that runs the gamut of emotion. 

Elation and joy to somber silence and quiet reflection. 

Honor Flight New England leader Joe Byron has seen it again and again. 

They are approaching fifty flights so far. 

“It gets emotional for them because they are thinking about the ones that they lost,” said Byron. 

The trip is much more than a tour. 

It’s an opportunity to talk with comrades about things no one would understand, even if they tried. 

“That’s one on the treasured moments of all this – is that many of them have tucked it away for all these years. Now is the time to let it go,” said Byron. 

One last hurrah. 

One last send off and collective thank-you. 

“They come down here and they know that America still loves you and will never forget,” said Byron. 

Veterans like Owen Ingram, who served in the Korean war, where close to forty-thousand Americans died. 

“When I got outta Korea, nobody, not even my family came. I hitchhiked 40 miles home. The forgotten war – it wasn’t forgotten today. It was marvelous,” said Ingram.

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