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Local veterans head to D.C. for day trip to memorials

Niagara USA Chamber of Commerce

A very special flight that took off from Buffalo Niagara International Airport Wednesday morning is giving local veterans a trip to remember in the nation’s capital. The second annual Western New York Warriors Flight, organized by New York Sen. Robert Ortt, is making its way to Washington, D.C. Two dozen veterans are being taken to visit memorials and other sites in the nation’s capital. 

World War II veteran Tom Etopio explained what the trip means to him.

"We're a dying breed and, in the past, there hasn’t been too much attention paid to the remaining veterans. Now some people are starting to realize what the veterans had done in that time period," Etopio said.

Former WWII and Korean War veteran Leonard Pogorzala said he is happy when people show their appreciation for those who served.

"They find out you’re a veteran they congratulate us. Everybody that I’ve ever talk to says, 'Oh thank you for taking care of our country. Glad you’re home and enjoy a good life,'" Pogorzala told WBFO.

The veterans will be visiting the World War II Memorial and the Vietnam and Korean War Memorials, to name a few. A sendoff ceremony was held at 6 a.m. at the airport and a welcome home ceremony is scheduled for when the group returns later tonight.