LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Dozens of World War II veterans and their family members on Friday morning departed from Los Angeles International Airport on an Honor Flight to Washington D.C., where they will visit war memorials and go on exclusive tours.
The trip was organized by Honor Flight Southland, a nonprofit organization that supports veterans from L.A., Orange and San Bernardino counties. Thirty-six vets, the oldest of whom is 104, were on Friday's Southwest Airlines flight.
The all-volunteer Honor Flight Network provides free travel for those who have served in the military. Top priority is given to World War II veterans and the terminally ill.
"I'm feeling great, really," Air Force veteran Cliff Pederson said before boarding at LAX. "I'm excited."
Navy veteran Willie Morrison described his service as "one of the highlights of my young life."
"I went in at 17, came out at 19," Morrison said. "I went to UCLA for four years. The government paid my way."
"To see all of these men, the light in their eyes, and knowing that they're going to finally be honored -- to hear their stories is just such a blessing," said Peggy Palmer, a resident of Costa Mesa.
The Southland veterans are scheduled to return at 5:30 p.m. Sunday. Supporters who would like to attend the homecoming are invited bring signs and flags to the baggage claim area in LAX's Terminal 1.
36 military veterans take Honor Flight from LAX to DC