WWII, Korean War veterans honored at send-off

Posted at 11:57 AM, Jun 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-08 11:58:08-04

Emotions stirred at the Capitol Region International Airport as roughly 60 World War II and Korean War veterans from Michigan embarked on a flight to Washington D.C.

Community members from across the state gathered to send the veterans off, and for some, seeing the crowd brought a feeling of pride.

"I wasn't quite expecting the emotions I felt when I seen the crowd there," said Vietnam veteran, Buck Sgt. Albert Duane Hanner, of Naples, Fla. "I was almost in tears, there. It feels so good to see everybody supporting this and it just feels good to be an American."

Hanner is accompanying his father, WWII veteran PFC Albert Milton Hanner. Albert Hanner, of Claire, served in the South Pacific Theater in the Army Air Corps. He was stationed in the Philippines and Guam. 

Out of the nearly 60 veterans on the Honor Flight, three are from the Lansing-area. They include Joseph Filko, Martin Seper and Garnie Taylor.

Taylor served as a Sargent in the Port Battalion during WWII in the European Theater. He was stationed in Casablanca, North Africa and "all the way to the end."

When asked if he was excited about going to Washington D.C. with the Honor Flight, Taylor couldn't hide his smile and said "Yes."

"This means everything," Taylor said.

Honor Flight is a national organization with about 136 hubs with the goal of getting veterans to Washington D.C. For now, they are focusing on World War II veterans, and will transition to other war era veterans as time moves on.

"There is a lot of emotional moments that are going to happen," said Patricia Donegan, mid-Michigan Honor Flight Hub Director. "Even guardians who have enlisted with us to fly as a total stranger will have a life-changing day."