A returning Villages Honor Flight was delayed due to Florida weather, but a 2 a.m. arrival did not dampen spirits.
The returning veterans and their Guardians were welcomed home at American Legion Post #347 in Lady Lake.
The bus carrying veterans and their Guardians was saluted with a water cannon provided by the Villages Public Safety Department.
Because of inclement weather, the ceremony was moved inside the American Legion hall.
It was a long day for the entire crew, which left the in wee hours Wednesday morning on the whirlwind, one-day trip to Washington D.C. and back.
Villager Ed Ferreira was surprised by his daughters at the National World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. during the trip.
The Korean War veteran was among a group that traveled to Washington D.C. on the third Villages Honor Flight trip this year.
Ferreira’s daughters’ surprise visit was secretly arranged by his Guardian on the trip, Villager Joyce Cover.
“It touched his heart as well as mine,” said Flight Director Debbie Diroff of the Village of Charlotte.
“It was a great mission and I am proud to have done it, and I thank all these veterans for the freedom that we have today,” Diroff said.
She noted the mission began back on Dec. 24. In all 97 people made the trip.
The group also took time to remember 19 veterans while in Washington D.C.
“We honored several of our veterans that are no longer with us. Flags of Our Heroes is a National Honor Flight program that Villages Honor Flight has adopted as our own,” Diroff said.
Those honored were:
John J. Seryank
Jim A Triplet Sr.
Rosario A. Masullo
Marlin “Ship” Bliss
Victor Allred Platta
Sydney W. Darrah
Howard W. Phelps
Eugene F. Cook
Joseph. F Bayer
Learn more about Villages Honor Flight at http://www.villageshonorflight.org/