WWII and Korean veterans visiting WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C.
State Sen. George Maziarz has announced the day has finally arrived: the WNY Heroes is today. Twenty-eight World War II and Korean veterans from Western New York were flown this morning to Washington, D.C., to visit the World War II Memorial, Korean War Memorial and other area monuments and memorials.
The nearly three-dozen World War II and Korean War veterans are accompanied by a team of volunteer chaperones as they make their way around the nation's capital. In addition to the World War II Memorial, they will see the Korean War Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam War Memorial, the Changing of the Guard ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery, and more. They will have a boxed lunch at the World War II Memorial and a first-rate buffet dinner in Washington, D.C., later tonight.
"It will be a long but rewarding day for everyone involved," said Maziarz, the trip's coordinator. "These brave veterans in our group served our nation proudly when we needed them the most. We owe a great deal to their generation, and this trip is just one small way of saying 'thank you.' "
The group, dubbed WNY Heroes Flight, was slated to fly out of the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport on Southwest Airlines at 8:50 a.m., right after a kick-off ceremony with the Sikora Post Honor Guard in the terminal lobby. The group will return home tonight at 10:55 p.m.
"This trip is completely free for the veterans," Maziarz added. "They have given enough. We want them to have a good time and enjoy this memorable experience. All of them are in their 80s or 90s, and this might be the only chance they have to see the World War II or Korean War Memorial. We want to make it the opportunity of a lifetime."
Maziarz said special praise must be given to the Walmart Foundation and Mulvey Construction for their generous donations to make the trip possible, the Niagara USA Chamber of Commerce for its partnership in this event, to Health Systems Services for generously loaning wheelchairs and canes, and to the staffs of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, Transportation Security Administration, and Southwest Airlines for their friendly cooperation.