The main terminal at ABIA became a parade route Friday morning. The cheers and salutes were for 40 military veterans taking the 52nd honor flight trip to Washington D.C.
The group features seven men who fought in World War II, soldiers like David Moore. He began his military career in a tank and says this gathering is a chance to reconnect. "Brings back a lot of memories. The trip does, so far I’ve certainly enjoyed it, meeting new veterans and old ones that I did know before,” said Moore.
Other World War II veterans on this trip served on ships and in airships.
Now back in a marching formation, each say they're humbled by this send off and by what awaits them. "And I was just wondering, how are they going to express in a monument of what we tried to do, in those years we were in battle,” said Navy Veteran Herb Witzel.
Some have been to Washington before but not to the memorials, like Roy Jacoby "When I was up there before walking the halls of the Capitol up there, the hair stood up there on the back of my neck, it might do the same thing, maybe more so,” said Jacoby.
Each veteran is aided by individuals known as guardians.
Austin Police Chief Brian Manley is one, it’s his first trip.
"I’ve heard about the Honor Flights that have taken place in the past, and the stories are really overwhelming, just the emotions that come out and the comradery, so very much looking forward to getting to spend the next two days with these heroes,” said Chief Manley.
This group, from the greatest generation, includes some trail blazers. There are also a few who have waited a very long time for this kind of honor.
Rolling past a cheering crowd Friday did a lot to heal some old wounds.
Especially for Tony Terry served in Korea. "Yeah it makes me feel different, when I first come back Korea, I couldn't even eat at the Piccadilly. I had the uniform on, but it’s changed,” said Terry.
Joanne Allen, also served in Korea. This trip is not just for her, for Allen it’s about all the women who fought through barriers and served. "And I feel like I should be thanking the Army for what it did for me. I found my husband, career, my education, travel, it was fabulous, it was the best thing I ever did."
The traditional water cannon salute over the jet as it taxied to the runway didn't happen because of water restrictions but one is expected after landing in Washington DC.
A final salute is scheduled for Saturday evening at 6:30, that's when the veterans return home.