NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Red, white and blue decorated the terminal at Louis Armstrong International Airport Wednesday (July 17) as some special visitors arrived.
With plenty of fanfare and flashing lights, 27 World War II veterans and their guests made the grandest of arrivals after American Airlines brought them south from Detroit on a Flight of Valor.
“I’m enjoying. I’m so happy. I’ve never been happier in all my life," Elmer Kosch said.
The Victory Belles handed out beads and their signature bright red lipstick smooches as the members of the greatest generation made their way to a police escorted caravan of motor coaches.
“I’ve been to Washington to that, it’s been wonderful to see that, but there’s something warm about this. Not the heat, the people," Veteran Art Fishman said.
There was even a family reunion where one woman flew from the Carolinas to surprise her uncle on this special journey.
Theirs marked the 15th trip sponsored by the Gary Sinise Foundation.
Bobby George, the event manager for the foundation said their goal is to bring every veteran possible to see the museum.
“We wanted to get as many World War II veterans to their World War II museum as possible. We’re doing a pretty good job so far, but we always want to do a little more," George said.
“I’m fortunate. I went through a war. I rode under the storm from the time I got in the service until I got out of the service," Fishman said.
Now, Fishman said he spends a lot of his time working on projects to honor veterans and continue learning.
“I’ve got to learn something there or the whole thing is worthless," he said.
And he said he already feels like he’s on the right track. After the hero’s welcome, some of the veterans were so excited, they said they feel like this is going to continue through the weekend, because it’s just that kind of town.
“It’s such a pleasure to have so many people walk in here and mean it. Not just say hello because they are doing something," Fishman said.
Other passengers took time out to greet the vets.
“I just want them to know that their service and their sacrifice is not taken for granted and we truly appreciate all that they have done for our freedom," George said.
The group will be treated to a special dinner at the museum Wednesday evening and a full day of touring the exhibits on Thursday.