Excitement mounts as veterans prepare for Honor Flight - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Excitement mounts as veterans prepare for Honor Flight

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MARION -- On Tuesday, 65 veterans will board a plane in Marion bound for Washington D.C. as part of the second Veteran's Honor Flight to leave southern Illinois.

The Community of Faith Church in Marion brought in dozens of veterans on Sunday morning to honor and prepare them for the day-long journey.

Those who have seen the impact of the trip like Bryan Questelle of the Veteran's Honor Flight know just how powerful it can be to some of the veteran's.

"They lost friends. They lost their foxhole buddy. They stormed the beach with gunfire on it. There's no telling what they've seen and it may bring up those memories. You don't know," Questelle said.

While the war may be over, the impacts of what the nation's heroes have seen  can linger for many years.

"War is Hell and it's good to get back home," veteran Jesse Crow said. "Years later, you've mellowed down to it, but sometimes, it takes a lot of years to mellow down."

Crow is a World War II veteran living in Desoto. Now in his 90's, he served in the Army as a paratrooper through the war.

"After, I filled out the papers and I laid them on his desk. I said, 'What if you want to leave now?'" Crow said.

Just weeks later he would be in training as a paratrooper and soon be on the war front. 

He said he couldn't make the last flight and was determined to make this one. It was his wife that told him to go.

"I told her when we go there, the next one that comes I'm going to go and she said, "You go sweetheart. You've earned it," he said.

It's an experience he said will be awesome and it will be even better to witness it with other veterans. He said it doesn't matter what war they served in, all veterans are his friends and have a special place in his heart.

"It puts a lump in my throat. I helped build a war memorial in Desoto and it put a lump in my throat. This is going to put a big lump in my throat," Crow said.

It's the veterans like Crow who push Questelle to make the honor flight possible.

"We get to be whatever we want to be because of the service that they've provided," Questelle said.

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