WYTHEVILLE, Va. – American Flags and patriotic music filled the auditorium on Fourth Street as veterans on their way to the nation’s capital stopped by Wythe County for a short ceremony.
Honor Flight Northeast Tennessee Founder and President Edie Lowry helped organize the group of veterans for the trip.
“Honor Flight is taking a group of veterans to Washington D.C,” Lowry said. “We have WWII, Korean and Vietnam Veterans on this trip. We have twenty veterans. We’re taking them to the memorials that were built in their honor. We will see all the memorials on Saturday.”
Lowry said she started doing fundraisers for St. Louis and the Kansas City hub in Missouri. Lowry said she started praying to God about a new project when she moved to Tennessee.
“I prayed to God for two years to help me decide if I was capable of doing this, and sure enough I’m on my fourteenth mission,” Lowry said.
Lowry said it is very emotional to see all the veterans come together and tell their stories.
“We have a lot of history,” Lowry said. “As we travel up the road to Washington, just to listen to their stories, what a rough life they had to live for our freedom. They are not thanked enough. This is a way to thank them. Our Vietnam Veterans never got that welcome home. Honor Flight Northeast Tennessee promises them they will get that best welcome home party that they well deserve.”
Wythe County Sheriff’s Department Lt. Joe Kincer was the emcee for the event.
“Today we are welcoming the Honor Flight Chapter out of east Tennessee,” Kincer said. “It’s a group of veterans who are traveling out of Johnson City to see the memorials that were built in their honor. This is the fourth year that they have stopped here. They usually stop here as part of a welcome to Virginia and Wythe County. We want to show them how much they are appreciated for what they have done and what they do.”
Kincer said the two trips he went on with the veterans in the past meant a lot to him.
“I’ve had the honor of traveling with them on two trips,” Kincer said. “When you get the honor of sitting on that bus with them and not reading the history book, but listening to the men and women who wrote the history book and lived it. It is a real honor to get to hear that. We appreciate our local Ft. Chiswell High School band and our JROTC from George Wythe High School. They’ve been very supportive over the years. Citizens also show up and tell these guys how much they appreciate them.”