Area war vets get trip of a lifetime (Photo Gallery)

By Anna Yee


6 photos

May 16, 2013 Updated Nov 19, 2013 at 12:37 PM CDT

WASHINGTON, DC -- Delbert Augsburger, 90, of Flanagan, IL, isn't afraid of flying.

In fact, he's going to be flying to Washington DC this June as a thank you for serving as an Air Force aerial gunner during World War II.

"You're just doing your job," said Augsburger. "It was an experience that I never thought I did anything extra."

Both Augsburger and his son Dave are two of the nearly 80 veterans chosen for the first ever honor flight from Peoria to Washington DC.

Dave says he's looking forward to visiting the Vietnam War memorial... A war he lost his right arm in fighting

"(What do you think of when you look in the mirror now?) How lucky I was. I was that far from being dead," said Augsburger. "If the pole would have come down a little farther, well, if I hadn't leaned forward, I would've been dead."

Dave says being a Vietnam vet didn't get him a very warm welcome back home in 1969.

"I didn't have any recognition for the first 10 years after I got out of the service," he said. "So, it's kind of nice. People honoring you now. It makes you feel good."

That's exactly why volunteers with the Greater Peoria Honor Flight have been working to raise the nearly $80,000 it takes to run the one-day trip.

"I don't think they realize how important they were at that time and that they are heroes," said Matt McMorrow, a Peoria honor flight guardian. "We're just trying to make sure that they get honored as heroes."

Heroes who will be forever remembered as they fly back home.

Another honor flight is in the works this September, but it can't happen without the community's help.

There will be an "Armed Forces Day Celebration" at Junction City this Saturday, May 18 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Adults are $5. Kids are $2. All proceeds will benefit upcoming honor flights for local veterans.

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