Local veterans take Flight of Honor


Dozens of veterans from the Triangle got to spend time visiting their respective monuments Thursday.

It's a trip of a lifetime for many veterans.

WWII Veteran, 87-year-old Raymond Sugg, wore his original uniform for the trip. He was one of about 100 veterans to take an all expenses paid trip to Washington DC to see the World War II memorial.

"I wore my uniform to represent the boys who didn't make it that I knew who didn't make it," he said.

Derwood Copeland of Raleigh said he already cheated death once as a B-17 pilot in Europe.

"I got shot down, so that ended my tour," Copeland explained. "I was captured and a prisoner of war."

To men and women like Copeland, the trip and the memorial was about recognition for sacrifice, valor and saving our nation.

The Flight of Honor departed RDU at 8:30 a.m. and the veterans returned Thursday night to a hero's welcome --flags waving and bag pipes playing, plus hundreds of family, friends and loved-ones cheering.

"It got the Japanese out of the Alucian Islands," WII Veteran Michael Banik said. "We burned out our gun barrels and then the next day when we landed the troops. All they had to do was just sweep the place clean. That's all I can tell them, I'm proud to be in America."

The trip was paid for by community donations. For more information about the flights, click here.

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