HALLOWELL, Maine (WABI) Several local veterans who recently returned from an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. went on another special trip Friday, closer to home, thanks to some local businesses and police.
The seven vets are all residents of Granite Hill Estates in Hallowell, and got a police escort to the Red Barn Restaurant in Augusta.
They were given a lunch paid for by the Augusta Elks Lodge.
It was a day to have a good meal, relax, and talk about how much they enjoyed their trip to D.C.
"A police escort and the Patriot Guard riders and the Augusta Police Department all here just showing our appreciation again and again for our veterans," said Laurie Sidelinger, Board Chairperson and Trip Lead for Honor Flight Maine.
"I couldn't believe it because as a kid you always like to be with firetrucks and a lot of excitement, and as a 17-year-old going into the military and then coming out never expecting to get recognized this way so many years after serving, so it's unbelievable," said WWII and Korea Veteran Richard Knight.
Veterans said their Honor Flight was a very special trip.
"It was just an experience that is hard to explain unless you're there to experience it," said Vietnam Veteran Paul Roy. "People wanting a hug and saying thank you for your service. It was very moving, and it's an experience that all veterans should participate in because it's just a memorable thing to encounter."
These veterans urged others to reach out to Honor Flight Maine so they can have the same experience of seeing their war memorial.
"It's in my heart to make sure that these veterans are honored in every way possible, that they understand that their service and sacrifice does not go unnoticed and that it is not going to be forgotten," said Sidelinger. "These memorials stand tall as a testimonial to their service."
If you know of a veteran who might want to go, Honor Flight Maine is having flights in September and October.
Visit HonorFlightMaine.org for details.