Over 20 million men and women served our nation in uniform including almost 200,000 Arkansans.
On Oct. 20, I joined the first ever Little Rock Honor Flight that flew some of those Arkansas veterans to Washington DC to say thank you.
Arriving before dawn, almost 170 Arkansas World War II veterans began boarding what, for many, would be the flight of a lifetime.
They came from the four corners of Arkansas, some with a son or daughter, and boarded one of two chartered US Airways flights and began the trip, courtesy of the Honor Flight Network, to our nation's capital to see their monument.
As a special tribute, last to board the aircraft was a neatly-folded American flag representing and honoring those veterans who will never get the opportunity.
Once on the ground at Reagan National Airport, they were greeted with a band, flags, balloons and dozens of well-wishers.
With a veterans motorcycle escort, these unsung, humble heroes made their way to a long overdue and much deserved memorial honoring their sacrifice at a time when our nation needed them most.
Having served all over the world, it was this trip, this destination that meant the most to these aging veterans.
Even though these men and women are in their 80s and 90s, the trials and triumphs of their younger days were in their eyes and their stories.
Stick with ArkansasMatters.com on Thursday night, when I'll share the experiences of long ago and the war stories, in some cases told for the first time, of these teenagers that saved the world.
To hear from some of the veterans that made the trip, watch the embedded video.