INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Nearly 200 World War II and Korean War veterans are preparing for their Honor Flight to the nation’s capital.
More than 1,000 Hoosier veterans have taken the free-of-charge Honor Flights since the program began.
The 12th and 13th Indy Honor Flight planes will lift off Saturday morning.
Friday night, the veterans had a welcome ceremony and dinner.
Each veteran could talk for hours about their service.
They all have an individual story that, put together, makes up an important chapter of our nation’s history.
The veterans filed in one by one Friday evening, each deserving a hero’s welcome.
Though they’d never call themselves by that name.
Members of this great generation are humbled by the attention they’re receiving while they prepare for their Indy Honor Flight.
The group of 178 World War II and Korean War veterans will fly for free Saturday to Washington, D.C., to see the memorials built in their honor.
“The last time I was in Washington they hadn’t built the World War II memorial yet,” Navy WWII Veteran Lt. Wayne Brodhecker said.
Unique to this trip are two married couples.
The Brodhecker’s are lifelong Hoosiers, and both served in World War II.
“I fought the battle of Iwo Jima,” Wayne said.
“My father was in World War I and he had two daughters, but not a son, so I joined the Army Nurse Corps for him,” WWII Veteran and Wayne’s wife, Betty Brodhecker, said.
But they didn’t meet until after the war, back home in Bloomington.
“I met her down at IU when I was down there,” Wayne Brodhecker said, “We met on a blind date. We got married in 1949 after the war.”
The other couple, the Jenkins, met while serving in Germany in 1945.
Their story actually began over a dispute about orange juice.
“I met her in Europe in the mess hall when I was the mess sergeant,” WWII Veteran Staff Sgt. Ezra Jenkins said.
“We had breakfast and had orange juice sitting there,” WWII Veteran and Ezra’s wife Joyce Jenkins said.
“She wouldn’t remove the empty cartons she had at the table,” Ezra said.
“I said, ‘No, I didn’t put it there and I’m not going to move it,'” Joyce said.
“They came and got me to talk to her and she told me nothing doin’,” Ezra said.
“I told him the same thing and he said, ‘Well, can I have a date?,'” Joyce said.
She said yes.
“So he moved the orange juice,” Joyce said.
The pair married a year later in Germany and her wedding gown was a homage to their service together.
“We went close to Berlin and got some parachute silk and a German lady made my dress,” Joyce said, “She charged me two packs of cigarettes.”
The couples have more than 60 years of experiences together since they were married.
They’re all so excited to add an Honor Flight to that list this weekend.
The trip leaves Saturday morning very early and will return Saturday night.
The public is asked to come to the homecoming for the veterans to show support.
That takes place Saturday night from 7:30 pm to 10:00 pm at the Plainfield High School.
They’re hoping for thousands of people there to greet our heroes.