On Memorial Day, a group of World War II veterans from Acadiana will leave Lafayette Regional Airport on a Heroes Flight. Since 2010, Brookshire Grocery, the parent company of Super One Foods, has brought WWII veterans to Washington D.C. free of charge to see the WWII Memorial and other sites.
"God bless them," said veteran Joe Richard from Sunset, "Thank them for thinking of us. It makes you feel good when people think of you."
Richard was 16 years old when he enlisted in the United States Navy. Shortly after, he was sent to the Pacific.
"I was at Pearl Harbor when they bombed it," said Richard. "I had the worst job in the world. My job was to try and get them people out that were trapped. I heard them knock until the day before Christmas on the Arizona."
The Heroes Flights have brought more than 400 veterans to Washington D.C. on 14 different trips. These trips have originated from north Louisiana or east Texas, but next week’s trip from Lafayette is a first.
"We want to show them the trip of a lifetime as a way to say thank you for what they did for us so many years ago," said Sam Anderson with Brookshire Grocery. "We’re going to spend two to three days in Washington, see different things then come back Wednesday evening."
One of the heroes is also making next week’s trip extra special. At 102, Melville’s Wilson Robertson, is the oldest veteran to make the trip.
"My secret is serving God," said Robertson of his age. "The man who’s taken care of me and looking out for me."
The Heroes Flight departs Lafayette Regional Airport at 9:30 a.m. Monday. Organizers invite the public to come out to the airport ahead of time to help give them a patriotic send-off.
KATC’s Jim Hummel will be travelling with the Heroes Flight, and will provide exclusive reports from Washington D.C. next week.