AUSTIN -- There was a special send-off for a group of World War II veterans at Austin's airport.
The first 2013 Honor Flight left from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport Friday. It gives veterans a free ride to the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. through donations.
More than 30 veterans gathered in the ticketing area of Gate 10 at ABIA, where they were honored with a short ceremony. Many of the veterans were meeting each other for the first time.
Each vet was escorted onto the flight by a family member or friend. Honor Flight Austin is paying their way from donations collected throughout the year. The trip cost about $1,000 per veteran.
KVUE spoke with veterans, including the only female WWII vet on the trip - a 91-year-old woman.
"It gives me [a] very proud feeling. And the old saying is I even get goose bumps," Hazel Von Roeder said.
"It will be an honor to get to talk to these people, cause they went through a lot that I didn't go through. We always had a dry place to sleep when we got back, if we got back, off a mission. Where they didn't. Alot of these guys had it a lot rougher than we did in the Airforce," vet Rex Bragg said.
The group will visit the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. When the vets took off from ABIA, their airplane received a water cannon salute.
To make a donation to Honor Flight Austin click here.