AUSTIN — Fifty-one Austin area veterans are in Washington D.C. as part of the Austin Honor Flight program.
All the service members on the flight are African American and will be visiting memorials built in their honor.
One of them is Curtis McCormick, who served in the Vietnam War in the Air Force. He was with his wife, Ora, as he waited in the security line.
"I'm all excited, very excited,” she said. “This is awesome."
He, too, is excited for the trip but describes war as hell and said he faced discrimination.
"As a black man you’re going to always face some kind of discrimination,” he said. “But we're just going to have to live with that. Again, that's something that – I don't serve man; I serve God."
McCormick said he is excited to visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Honor Flight Austin is making it all possible. The non-profit brings veterans to war memorials.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler visited this special flight.
"On behalf of a very grateful city, I just want to say thank y'all for your service,” Mayor Adler said over loudspeaker.
"We have one representative,” he said. “A vet of World War II …”
That vet is 94-year-old Theodore Johnson. He is an original Tuskegee Airman.
"There will never be another union like the Tuskegee Airmen,” Johnson said. “Never."
The airmen were the first black military aviators in the U.S. Air Force.
According to government records, the airmen paved the way for full integration of the military.
"They were a unit that changed the nation,” said Johnson.
He lives to tell the tales of war to our generation.
"War is hell,” Johnson said. “Don't nobody tell you that war is not hell. Anybody tell you he wasn't afraid, he's a lie."
The men will return Saturday evening. They will visit war memorials, the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.