WASHINGTON, D.C. (WEHT) – On a dark Saturday morning, 86 heroes filled Evansville Regional Airport for a once in a lifetime trip: a special tour of Washington, D.C., including the memorials dedicated to brave men and women who gave so much. Among the 86, 4 veterans served during World War II, including 100 year old Charles Young and Mildred Schillo, the oldest on the flight at 102.

“It kind of gives you chills,” says Schillo. Young adds, “It brings back some memories. Sometimes it just makes you want to cry.”

Schillo was a typer during the war, serving in many locations, including Manilla. After the war, she worked for the Commerce Department in Washington. Seeing the World War II Memorial brought a reflection of those who impacted her life.

“All the nice people that I met,” says Schillo.

For Young, however, the story is drastically different. Young served in the war for 5 years, but his hardest fight was off the battlefield; a battle against discrimination and a fight for equality.

“In Tullahoma, Tennessee, prisoners, the German prisoners, would go in the restaurant and eat, and I had to stand outside and have him pass me and eat outside.”

As the day continued, we were introduced to Vietnam veteran Joseph Barron. Barron served for three tours during Vietnam, and was a gunner sergeant during the Cuban Missile Crisis, a role that earned him a special evening with President John F. Kennedy.

“I met him and Bobby both,” recalls Barron. “And we had a pretty good dinner and everything with him.”

For Barron, like many other Vietnam veterans, the journey to the Vietnam Wall Memorial was a somber one. A wall full of names, stories and relationships held so close by so many, including David Brummett, who found the name of a childhood friend.

“Jerry Pry,” says Brummett. “And we were good friends and we both got drafted at the same time, and we were on the same plane when we went to Vietnam. And he went one way with a different company and I went another way. I heard that he got killed and his company wasn’t probably 100 yards, 200 yards from me.”

Marvin Hill, veteran of both Korean and Vietnam wars, conducted a similar search.

“He was a patriot, he was a non-combatant,” says Hill. “He didn’t believe in killing and he had about a month left before he got taken out.”

Hill arrived in Vietnam in 1971, serving with the “dustoff” unit, working to pull soldiers from the lines of combat, a role that typically gave Hill 30 seconds to save as many soldiers as possible before mortars rained down.

“They needed someone to go in and,” says Hill, before being overcome by emotion.

The silence takes over, but still, veteran’s voices ring loud.

“It brings back a lot of memories,” says Brummett. “You know, I lost a lot of good friends over there. You never got very close to nobody. You never knew their first name or their last name, you just had a nickname or whatever, and you’d see them today and they were gone tomorrow, that’s just how fast things happened over there.”

A special day for 86 heroes concluded with a visit to the Korean War Memorial before visiting Arlington National Cemetery and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. With the changing of the guard and the laying of the wreath, 86 veterans watched in silence.

A hero’s trip deserves a hero’s welcome, with the Evansville community greeting veterans on their return flight home, something many veterans never received.

“When I came back through San Francisco it was, I forget what it was, people in the white dresses and flower children and all that,” recalls Hill, “cussing at you and spitting at you, and you just ignore them. I don’t know, it was just a different time.”

A special honor for 86 souls plus one, Vietnam veteran Ernest Jones, who passed away prior to Honor Flight 13. An experience to be remembered forever by men and women whose service will never be forgotten.