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Veterans take trip to see national memorials

Posted at 9:30 AM, Apr 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-23 20:48:10-04
Many call it a trip that can only be described as 'once-in-a-lifetime.' On Saturday, about two dozen local veterans boarded a plane at Tucson International Airport for a flight in their honor. 
 
The trip is set to take them to the memorials they never have gotten the chance to see and to reunite those who served. 
 
"The rest of us, we have one thing in common," Korean Veteran John Rio explained, "That we wanted to, you know, just be there for everybody." 
 
Rio was there for the nation, serving the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War. 
 
"It brings back a lot of memories to be with groups," Rio said. "Yeah, I'm really enjoying it."
 
And it's Honor Flight Southern Arizona that puts these groups back together.
 
"Honor Flight is a trip that we take World War II and Korean vets to our nation's capital," Volunteer Coordinator Dominic Quihuis explained."...to see the memorials dedicated and built in their honor for their service and sacrifice."
 
Quihuis tells KGUN9, this trip is the perfect way to put the finishing touches on their military careers. 
 
"They think they've been forgotten and it's just absolutely amazing to see a 80, 90-year-old World War II Vet that has seen some of the most beautiful things in the world, some of the worst things in the world - just break down in tears because they haven't been forgotten," Quihuis said. "It is just absolutely moving."
 
For Rio, as a Korean veteran, he felt exactly that.
 
"I think that we were the forgotten war," Rio said.
 
Hopefully, Saturday at take-off, that feeling was changed for a moment. 
 
"I think now, it's about time we got kind of recognized," Rio said. 
 
The flight landed in Washington, D.C. Saturday afternoon. The group will be spending the rest of the weekend in the area before making the trip back Monday evening.