JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Local Jacksonville veterans took part in the trip of a lifetime this past weekend, thanks to a local nonprofit First honor flight from the coast.
STORY: Florida Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Exemption Kicks Off, Hurricane Season Approaches
Action News Jax spoke with a veteran who shared his experience on the special trip.
“It was awesome,” said Army veteran Ed Lauramore. “It was above. I will tell you. They pulled out all the bells and whistles, pulled the rabbits out of the hat, and there were people cheering. They had made homemade signs and different branches of active duty military personnel were there to greet us coming and going from both airports.
Lauramore (Rank E-5) served from 1968 to 1974, Fort. Benning, Georgia Basic Training, Ft; Belvoir, Virginia and Vietnam Active Reserve.
“They put me in the 25th Infantry Division,” Lauramore said. “I made supplies, took troops, built products, and everything everyone needed went all over South Vietnam. I was young and I liked the challenge.
STORY: Arrest made in Green Coves Springs shooting that killed 1 and injured another
Jacksonville Volunteers, known as the ‘Cheer Squad’, turned the veterans away from the airport, as the veterans began their day-long journey to see the memorials that were built to honor them and their sacrifice .
It was the First Coast Honor Flight’s first flight from Jacksonville this year.
Veterans toured the city and even attended the Changing of the Guard ceremony.
STORY: Southern Baptist Convention lists church leaders accused of sexual misconduct, 10 in Jacksonville
Lauramore thought back to a memory from Vietnam that is hard to think of.
“The hardest thing I found in Vietnam was the death of children,” Lauramore said. “Many, many, many children died. That was probably the hardest part of collecting those little bodies.
STORY: Autopsy results released for boy found dead in suitcase in Indiana woods
He said there was something he wanted everyone to remember this Memorial Day weekend.
“Never stop believing in the flag in our country,” Lauramore said.
The next First Coast Honor Flight will take place on October 15, and the nonprofit is now accepting applications.
“It was a party the whole way there and back,” Lauramore said. “It was just a party.”
©2022 Cox Media Group