(WBNG) — Sixty area veterans took a trip of a lifetime to our nation’s capital in the Twin Tiers Honor Flight. 12 News had the chance to travel with the group and see one veteran find what he was looking for.
The Twin Tiers Honor Flight is a nonprofit organization dedicated in honoring veterans.
On May 12, the group left the Greater Binghamton Airport to Washington, D.C.
Vietnam veteran Mel Wightman was one of many on the trip. "I’m just glad to get here," Wightman said.
At one point he was so close to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
"I came here one other time and we were about 150 feet away and my wife’s leg gave out," explained Wightman.
His journey to get to where he wanted to go, took longer than expected.
"So we had to go home and I never did quite make it," he said. "That was like 20 years ago."
Decades later, he went back, this time not leaving the capital without taking care of business.
"I come here to see a couple boys on the wall," said Wightman.
He was on a mission to see two people he knew very well. "I was with Lester Stone in Boy Scouts many years ago," Whitman added. "I won’t tell you how many and David Ross was in my high school class."
The three friends went to war together and two didn’t make it back. "David was probably, I think he was probably 20 maybe and Lester Stone might of been 19. They were good people it was like all wars, not a good thing."
Wightman finally made his way to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and was able to get what he was searching for. "This is bringing closure," said Wightman.
He was able to leave with a tracing of the names of his two friends on two pieces of paper.
"It’s nice to pay tribute to them and I only wish they were still here," said Wightman.
He says he’ll put those names in a special place. "I’ll put it probably next to my hat," said Wightman. "Third and seventeenth aircraft hat."
Wightman and his hat traveled together throughout the entire journey. "It took me 50 years to get the closures but what the heck, we did it," said Wightman.