(Update: Adding video)
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Honor Flight of Central Oregon is ready to take off on its latest journey of veterans to the nation's capital in Washington, D. C. on Wednesday.
It's the second Honor Flight from the High Desert since COVID-19 put a pause on the trips. A total of 29 veterans and their guardians will be on the four-day, all-expenses-paid journey (although those who accompany the vets are asked to cover some of their own expenses). The group will visit nearly a dozen memorials and monuments in our nation's capital.
Veterans filled out an application on the website, where it's generally first-come, first-served. When flights are being booked, the names are pulled by the date of the application.
Honor Flight participant and Vietnam War veteran James Gabriel said he's been waiting nearly four years for this opportunity.
"I think I'm going to probably relive some of my experiences while I was in the service," Gabriel said Sunday. "For me, it's a very emotional kind of thing -- to go back and wonder about the people I served with and lost contact with."
Honor Flight of Oregon President Dane Prevatt said, "It's amazing to see their reactions, because of the enormity of what they did and what they've done. Seeing it through the lens of Honor Flight is completely different than just going to D.C."
The public is invited to a "Welcome Home Day" event next Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds.