Johnson City

Veterans return home from Honor Flight

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - According to The National World War II Museum, every two minutes a veteran of the war passes away. But this weekend, almost two dozen local veterans got a chance to visit the memorial that honors their service.

As the time of their return drew near the skies darkened and the rain fell, but the spirit in the air wasn't dampened. 25 World War II veterans were returning home once again, this time from a peaceful and reflective visit to Washington D.C.

Eddie Shirley tells News 5 his trip was indescribable. "You can't express the meaning of it, because it just tears you all to pieces when you look at it," said Shirley.

Shirley, 23 other men and one woman traveled to the nation's capital as part of the Honor Flight program.

"I would like people to know what I was the only girl serving in the service with all of those men," said Katherine Purcott. Purcott was not just the only women, she was also the oldest. "Well, I did get a lot of attraction. I don't know if that was a negative or positive," said Katherine Purcott.

While she got a lot of attention, her story even inspired her own daughter and trip guardian. "I was just so proud, I have always been proud. She was in the first battalion commissioned by Congress in the women's Army corps," said Karen Purcott.

Karen told News 5 women who are currently serving in the military said something that made their entire trip worthwhile. "[She] came up to mother to thank her for being one of the barrier breakers for women and that just about got to me," said Karen Purcott.

Since 2005 Honor Flight has been taking veterans from across the nation to see their memorials at no cost to them.

We were told that the government shutdown didn't keep the veterans from seeing the memorials.

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