“More than I ever imagined:” Vietnam vets travel to DC on Stars and Stripes Honor Flight

Stars and Stripes Honor Flight

MILWAUKEE -- A group of veterans took a whirlwind trip to Washington, DC, and back. Stars and Stripes Honor Flight has been sending vets to see their memorial since 2008 -- but something happened for the very first time on Saturday, September 16th.

Ann Fritsche

Ann Fritsche couldn't hold back her excitement for what was about to happen.

"Unbelievable. I can't believe the organization and all these people," said Fritsche.

The former Army physical therapist embarked on a journey to Washington, D.C.

"I really didn't know what to expect, but this is much more than I ever imagined," said Fritsche.

Stars and Stripes Honor Flight

"We really have a full day of surprises planned for them. It's really going to be a great day," said Karyn Roelke.

Stars and Stripes Honor Flight

Karyn Roelke works with the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight. The nonprofit has been sending veterans to see their memorials for free, for nearly a decade.

For the first time on Saturday, the majority of the 152 veterans on the plane fought in the Vietnam War -- like Patrick Piche.

"They are my brothers. That's it. OK? We all went through a lot of the same stuff I went through and I'm proud. That's all there is to it that I did serve my country," said Piche.

Stars and Stripes Honor Flight

A sacrifice that deserves recognition.

"Really our nation at large is so graciousĀ for their service. Particularly our Vietnam veterans did not get the welcome home they deserve," said Roelke.

It was a day to honor our veterans that for many is long overdue.

Stars and Stripes Honor Flight

The Stars and Stripes Honor Flight is currently accepting applications from Vietnam War veterans. CLICK HERE to apply.