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Veterans take Honor Flight to see war memorials

Thirty-seven Central Texas veterans departed Austin on Friday to visit war memorials in Washington, D.C.

<p>Veterans prepare to board an April 8, 2016 flight to Washington, D.C. as part of the Honor Flight program.</p>

Thirty-seven Central Texas veterans departed Austin on Friday to visit war memorials in Washington, D.C.

"We're going to Washington," said retired Army Col. Charles Edwards. "I'm just so happy all of these veterans are able to make it, are still in good health and able to do it."

The two-day trip was coordinated by Honor Flight Austin. Over the past few years it's taken hundreds of Central Texas men and women to tour the Korean War, Vietnam War, and World War II memorials, along with other sites dedicated to those who fought for this nation's freedom.

As the procession of veterans made its way through Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, travelers stopped to cheer and applaud.

Manny Vidal, 85, spent three years in Korea jumping out of planes.

"It was through the army, but I was in the CIA," he said.

This is his first trip to see the memorials.

"I'm enjoying it, it's well organized," Vidal said. "It reminds me of the service, every step is planned."

As they climb onboard their flight, many veterans remember their brothers in arms who never made it home.

With each of those names fresh in their minds, these men say their friends' lives and their deaths will not be forgotten.

"I have about 12 of my Army helicopter pilot friends are on the Vietnam Wall and I will be looking their names up and paying tribute to their service because they gave the ultimate sacrifice," Edwards said.

The veterans are scheduled to arrived back in Austin on Saturday evening.

Go here to learn more about Honor Flight Austin.