Military veterans celebrated with 'Honor Flight Bay Area'

Two dozen military veterans – including seven men who served in WWII – headed off to Washington, D.C. early Thursday morning to visit memorials and monuments made in their honor.

The flight out of San Francisco International Airport is courtesy of Alaska Airlines and the trip is free for these veterans through "Honor Flight Bay Area." 

There are also volunteers known as guardians who go with them to make sure they have the best experience possible.

Clifford Faulkner's guardian is his daughter Noelle. 

"This is a trip of a lifetime. I've never been to Washington, and I'm looking forward to it. And I'm so glad to have my daughter with me," said Faulkner, a Korean War Navy veteran from Redding.

This flight usually happens every year, but because of the pandemic it was canceled for the last two years. 

"I’ve been waiting two years to go, I qualified for it a long time ago before COVID but then covid hit and it canceled everything. And actually I’m really glad I’m able to do it right now because my legs are giving out on me and I probably wouldn’t be able to do it in another year," said Faulkner.

He said he is looking forward to visiting Arlington National Cemetery, and looking for a friend who died in Vietnam's name at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

"I don’t know how I’m going to feel when I see his name. In fact, I’m getting a little emotional talking about it right now. Just such a waste of people," said Faulkner.

It will be an emotional trip for many of the veterans, but they're eager to get to experience it all with fellow veterans by their side. 

"I never thought I’d be going to Washington D.C. to see these memorials, and so we’re really excited. I’m a Vietnam veteran and I really want to see the wall, I heard so much about it and I really want to see it," said Alfred Alciati of Morgan Hill.

Alciati immediacy made friends with another veteran on the flight.

"We’re both navy guys, so we’ll get to know each other. It’ll be just like boot camp again," he said. 

The group has a few days of exploring D.C. before coming back on Sunday. 

Two dozen military veterans – including seven men who served in WWII – are heading off to Washington, D.C. on Thursday to visit memorials and monuments made in their honor. March 31, 2022 

Last year's Honor Flight Bay Area was held virtually because of the pandemic.