SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — It was a hero’s welcome on Saturday, September 24, for a deserving group of veterans.

80 veterans each accompanied by one family member or friend traveled from Syracuse to Washington D.C. on Honor Flight Mission 17.

As the veterans returned to the airport they were greeted with applause from family members, friends, and community members for a true heroes welcome.

Saturday’s flight marked the 10th anniversary of Honor Flights out of Syracuse and for many of the veterans, it was not only a celebration but a time of reflection.

Allen Hale said visiting Arlington Cemetary was an emotional experience.

“We drove around in that and there were hundreds and thousands of gravestones wherever you look,” he said, “I can’t tell you how emotional it is to see those, though, I served in the military, for two years, it was peacetime, but I love this country.”

Being around so many others who shared that same love made it special for him.

“The flame of freedom and everything comes alive in America when you see something like this happen tonight,” he said, “I shook hands with guys who ha stripes and marks of combat they paid a dear price.”

To see how you can help support future honor flights visit their website.