Honor Flight takes vets from Capital City to Nation's Capital

Columbia, SC (WACH)--George Epting, an 89 year old World War II veteran served in the Navy and spent time in Okinawa, Japan.

Thanks to the Honor Flight Program, the Newberry man and dozens of other veterans traveled to Washington D.C. Wednesday to visit a memorial honoring their service.

Epting has the group spent an emotional 90 minutes at the World War II memorial. They took pictures, shared stories, and remembered their service. Epting said he was very impressed with the memorial.

"I think it is wonderful. It is nice to have all these people out; especially all these veterans that have been through a lot. It is emotional. It is an honor to see people honor you for what you did in the past."

Even former servicemen that did not deploy overseas during the war like David Mangan came to pay their respects.

"I came to honor my people, my friends that did go overseas and did not return. There were many of them. That is why I am here to celebrate them. But also to show respect for those who passed away."

The group was also given a tour of the nation's capital, making stops at the Lincoln, Korean, and Vietnam Memorials; as well as the Arlington National Cemetery, where they witnessed a changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Epting said the military has always been a strong tradition in America, and hopes future generations keep it that way.

"I want them to see how things were and get an eye on what we went through and how the nation has changed from when we were in service. We are proud of our forces."

The day ended with a welcome back from Lt. Governor Glenn McConnell when they came back to Columbia Wednesday evening. There was also a large welcoming party at the airport lobby.

The Honor Flight is sponsored by the South Carolina Electric Cooperatives. Officials say they are already planning for the next flight in November.