GRAY, Tenn. (WJHL) – For the first time in two years, an honor flight is taking place with Tri-Cities veterans aboard.

Honor Flights, or trips to take veterans to visit war memorials in Washington D.C., have been on pause in the area due to the shutdown of the Northeast Tennessee chapter and the pandemic.

On Friday morning, veterans departed on the first honor flight for the new organization of the Appalachian Highlands.

Larry Davis is a Vietnam Veteran, and like many, he’s lost friends to war. This weekend, he’s headed to D.C. to remember them.

“One, I come home and talked to him,” Davis said. “He left the next day for Vietnam, and three months later they called me and said he’d been shot. So, his name’s on the wall.”

Davis remembers a very different America when he returned home from war all those years ago.

“We didn’t get no honor when we come home,” Davis said. “We were ignored, spit on and everything else, and now the people have realized that we’re due some honor.”

Honor Flight of the Appalachian Highlands President Michelle Stewart said it’s amazing to watch veterans enjoy the experience.

“When veterans realize that the community thanks them and is honoring them and they can take this trip with their comrades for healing and support, it means the world to them,” Stewart said.

There are 19 veterans on the trip, one from WWII and one from the Korean War. The rest served in the Vietnam War.

Greeneville Veteran Richard Gosnell said it’s a privilege to take the trip as he remembers comrades that were never able to.

“It’s because of the people’s names on these memorials up there, they gave the ultimate price for our freedom,” Gosnell said. “I thank God for every one of them.”

If you’re interested in showing your support, honor flight veterans will return to Crossroads Christian Church in Gray on Sunday at 5 p.m.