WWII veterans fly from LAX to DC for 'once-in-a-lifetime' Honor Flight

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A special group of passengers arrived at LAX early Friday morning for a "once-in-a-lifetime" Honor Flight, a free 3-day trip to see the memorials that celebrate their service. (KABC)

A special group of passengers arrived at LAX early Friday morning for a "once-in-a-lifetime" Honor Flight.

Thirty-five WWII veterans were given the opportunity to visit Washington D.C. on a free 3-day trip to see the memorials that celebrate their service.

Stanley Zurko, 101, served in the U.S. Coast Guard, and was excited for the opportunity.

"This is once-in-a-lifetime. I'll be tired tonight of course, but overall, I'm ready to go," said Zurko.

Ernie Medrano, 92, flew a bomber for the Navy during WWII. He said he's never been able to make the trip.

"I'm sure glad I was selected to go over there and visit some of those memorials and museums, and just to get out and see how many of us are left...not too many of us," said Medrano.

Nikki Smith was the only female veteran on this trip, which is comprised of vets from Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Orange Counties. She said she was thinking about her husband who she met in the service.

"He was one of my patients. He was a very, very handsome young man. He was very ill, and when he was well and hearty, I married him," said Smith, who served as a pharmacist mate in WWII.

Registration for the next Southland Honor Flight begins in August, and that flight departs in October.

"It really gives everybody a chance to say thank you to a group that doesn't get the thanks that they deserve," said Chairman and Co-Founder of Honor Flight Southland Craig Van Doren.

For more information, you can visit honorflightsouthland.org
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