It was a beautiful evening to welcome home the 12th Honor Flight in Sedalia, Mo. They were escorted by a group of about 75 local motorcycle riders from Marshall Junction to Sedalia on Tuesday night (Sept. 3).

I think last night's welcoming crowd has to be the largest that I have seen since I have been attending this wonderful event. It never ceases to amaze me on how many people will show up to give these men the hero's welcome they deserve. Many of these men came home from war with people spitting on them and refusing them service because of the wars they were in (Korean War and Vietnam War). Hopefully last night helped heal their hearts with all the people cheering and waving flags in their honor. As the veterans were exiting the bus, they were full of smiles and happiness to see their friends and family.

They had left Sedalia around 3:30 a.m. to head for KCI. Then they flew to Baltimore to where they were greeted by a group of military people to welcome them there and gave them the celebration they have earned. People in the terminal stopped, applauded and gave them standing ovations and shook their hands. Then they boarded another bus that brought them to Washington D.C.

Veterans start their adventure at the World War II Monument. Then they travel down the road to the other end of the reflecting pool and see the Korean War Memorial and the Vietnam Wall Memorial. Plus, if there is time, they can check out the Lincoln Memorial. Then they are whisked away and head to Arlington National Cemetery, where they observe the Changing of the Guard at The Unknown Soldiers Tomb. That alone is an amazing experience. They board back on the bus and head through rush hour traffic from D.C. back to Baltimore.

There they once again boarded the plane and headed back to KCI, to which they also received a hero's welcome from the Patriot Guard at KCI. This was the first time for that too. Then they loaded on the bus to come home to Sedalia and arrived around 11:30 p.m. All of this adventure in less than 24 hours.

It seems that each Honor Flight gets something special added. When I went as an escort in October 2012, they met us with the firetrucks spraying two water arches over Main and Ohio for The Honor Flight Bus to go through. Last night's addition was brought to us by REA Electric CO-OP, bringing their bucket truck and suspending The United States flag from the extended bucket with a spotlight on it. What an outstanding sight it was. Every time I attend these events, it always brings chills down my spine and a tear to my soul.

Now if you have a family member that has served in WWII, Korean Wars or the Vietnam War, have them contact Pam Burlingame down at City Hall and get them signed up to go see their memorial. These flights are at no cost to the veteran. If you have not served but would like to go as an escort, you can do so, but you have to pay for your own way. Trust me, it is well worth it.

To the gentlemen of Honor Flight 12, welcome home and thank you for your service!