Honor Flight is “Thrill of a Lifetime”

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Hundreds of family and friends gathered at the gate at Bradley International Airport with flags waving over the weekend.

They wanted to be the first to welcome home the World War II veterans who went down to Washington, D.C. to see the memorial put up in their honor.

"Unbelievable. Just unbelievable. It was the biggest, just a thrill of a lifetime," said Robert Fitz of Bristol.

The thrill of a lifetime can only begin to describe the journey the World War II veterans made. They visited several war memorials, including the one dedicated to them and their fellow soldiers.

Charlotte Patros' husband George served in World War II.

"He was in one of the first battalions that went into Japan after the atomic bomb was dropped," Charlotte Patros of Windham said.

George Patros started serving his country right after high school. Through this trip, he realized what his service meant to his country.

"I did not realize that most Americans really appreciated what they did during World War II. In Washington, D.C., no matter where you went, they came up to you and thanked you. It really brought tears to my eyes. I must have shaken 1,000 hands today and that’s awesome," George Patros said.

Frank Lantini, 91, of Durham served for four years. His wife remembers writing letters to him while he was overseas. She said this trip was a dream come true.

"He never thought he would go, but he was happy to go this time," Phyllis Lantini said.

"It was very good. I enjoyed every minute of it," said Frank Lantini.

They also enjoyed the hero's welcome they got when they returned. So many people lined up, cheered them on and honored the veterans this Memorial Day weekend.

"It makes me feel very proud. And all that we went through, was worth it," said George Patros.

Looking for something to do? Here are some events happening around the state today. 

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