SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Welcoming home our heroes. Hundreds of people gathered at Syracuse’s Hancock International Airport to welcome back veterans after spending the day in Washington D.C. visiting the monuments honoring their service.
Friends and family welcomed home our soldiers Saturday night. The 80 veterans on Saturday’s Mission 18 Honor Flight Home served in the U.S. Military including World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and in active duty around the globe. More than 50 of the veterans served in Vietnam, spending the day visiting monuments honoring their service and sacrifice.
The family of Vietnam Veteran, Edward Gerrick made welcome home signs, waiting patiently for his arrival.
“I am waiting for my grandpa,” said Emma Gerrick, granddaughter of Edward Gerrick.
“There was a lot he served with that he knew personally that lost their lives and just for him to go down and see the memorial its going to bring tears to his eyes,” said Andrew Gerrick.
Emily Barlow, granddaughter of William Patterson was there with her friends and family to welcome back Patterson. Patterson served in the Vietnam War.
“I am here for my grandfather. His name is William Patterson,” said Patterson.
Judy Bryant, wife of Jim Bryant a Vietnam veteran also made a special welcome home sign for her husband.
“This is my husband he was in Vietnam and he got wounded and he got shot and he still carries the bullet in his knee,” said Bryant.
Bryant was joined by friends and family.
Nearly 50 family members showed up for Fred Anuszewski who was only 21 when he died in Normandy, never making it home. Jennifer Linder, niece of Anuszewski said her mom was only 11 when she found out her brother had passed away. Linder surprising her mom just a day before the honor flight, letting her know Fred was going to be honored.
“I did not tell my mom until yesterday because I did not know how emotional she was going to get,” said Linder.
Not there physically, but in spirit. Fred was still able to be honored with his photo carried on today’s Honor Flight.
Other veterans never getting the welcome home they deserved.
“That was a bad time then, but now he doesn’t realize what’s really going to be going on for him and all the other soldiers that were with him,” said Bryant.
“The reason why I never made the sign is because a lot of the soldiers never got the proper welcome home so hopefully this will close a chapter in their lives,” said Gerrick.
Since its inaugural mission in 2012, Syracuse Honor Flight has taken more than 1,200 veterans from Central and Northern New York and the Mohawk Valley to Washington D.C. to visit their memorials at no cost.