Hudson Valley Honor Flight Sends 1,000th Veteran to DC

NEW WINDSOR, N.Y. -- As World War II veteran Stanley Goldstein arrived at Stewart International Airport Saturday morning, dozens came out to welcome him and other veterans.

"I've never seen anything like this, even when I see the president running down," Goldstein said. "It's overwhelming. I thank everyone."

Goldstein was one of 88 veterans taking part in 13th Hudson Valley Honor Flight.

Started in 2012, the organization reached a big milestone Saturday, sending its 1,000th veteran to Washington D.C.

“Back then, we were just a ragtag crew putting things together with a lot of support and a lot of patriotism, and now it’s a well-oiled machine,” said Brian Maher, Hudson Valley Honor Flight co-founder.

Honor Flight provides an opportunity for World War II, Korean War, Vietnam and other veterans to view the memorials at the nation's capital.

Nearly 200 people were on Saturday's flight, including guardians and volunteers. State Sen. Sue Serino is one of the guardians. 

“These are all our veterans, all the guys that ran into all of the danger, while run away," Serino said. "They’ve had our back and now it’s nice celebrate with them.”

Honor Flight organizers say none of this would've been possible without the support of the community of the years. 

As this latest trip heads to the nation's capital, those involved say they are just happy to give these veterans the honor they earned.

“It’s the welcome home that they never got. They came back from the war, 60, 70 years ago, and they just went back to work and so we’re giving the hero’s welcome they deserve,” said Frank Kimler, Hudson Valley Honor Flight chairman.

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