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Vietnam Veterans get their turn for thanks on Honor Flight

MOLINE -- Early in the morning of Sept. 15, the first Honor Flight of Vietnam veterans will take off from the Quad City International Airport, giving around 100 who faithfully served the thanks and respect many did not receive when they first returned from Southeast Asia.

One of those on the flight will be Bob Brandt, who enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1963, right out of high school.

"The Vietnam era gets kind of pushed to the side, I think," said Brandt. "I think the Vietnam vets are now holding their heads high, where when they first came home, they didn't know why we're over there."

While in Washington D.C., the veterans will take part in a special service near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The flight leaves in the morning and returns the same night.

The Quad City International Airport has offered free parking passes for anyone who attends.

The honor flights are possible because of community donations. Sponsors presented the organizers with a check for $50,000 on Thursday, June 17.

While this will be the first flight for Vietnam veterans, more than 3,000 area veterans have had the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. since the program landed in the Quad Cities in 2008.