GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Around 3,000 people waited anxiously at the Gulfport Biloxi International Airport Wednesday night all to give World War II veterans a proper heroes welcome home.
Some traveled from miles away like Suzie Carter from Wade, Mississippi. "We are out here to support one of our church family Mr. Bill Spruell," Carter said.
Jacob Moore also knew one of the veterans aboard the Honor Flight. Moore said, "My great-grandfather served in the World War II and he is on the Honor Flight."
But many in the crowd had never even met these men or women before. Jessica Kendziorek said, "I'm here to support all the troops that have served."
And Regionald Bass said, "To honor people that have paved the way so we can stand here right now and do what we are doing."
As the plane taxied in, Marines stood in salute and when the 88 veterans stepped off the plane they were met with many kind words.
"We are proud of you and thank you so much for your service. It is because of you that we are free today," Carter said.
Moore's message was sweet and simple, "Thank you for serving."
Kendziorek wanted the vets to know, "I appreciate you and everything you have ever done."
Signs, songs and handshakes also greeted the veterans. "It shows that America still appreciates them," Kendziorek said.
And from the look on their faces, it was evident these veterans will forever treasure that warm welcome home.