Bradley International Airport's arrival terminal was illuminated by popping flash bulbs and chalk full of American flags Saturday night as friends, family members and fellow veterans welcomed 100 local World War II and Korean War veterans home from viewing their memorials in the nation's capital.
"This is truly our last chance to honor these members of the Greatest Generation. This is their final wish, and we make it a reality," said State Rep. Christopher Coutu (R, 47th District), founder of American Warrior, an organization with the goal of making sure WWII veterans get a chance to see their war memorial in Washington, D.C.
Veterans from 44 Connecticut towns, and seven from out of state — many of whom saw the memorial for the first time — were treated to a day trip, provided by American Warrior, which included visits to several memorials, including the Vietnam, Marine, Air Force and Women's memorials.
With Saturday's trip, American Warrior has now sent more than 800 veterans to Washington, D.C. in three years, according to the organization's representatives.
Windsor-native and World War II veteran Herbert Vanalphen said, "It's really nice," to be able to visit the memorial and have his service recognized.
The veterans arrived at Bradley to a chorus of "U.S.A." chants led by Coutu, as well as music provided by the Marquis of Granby Fyfe and Drum.