Kokomo’s Jack Snyder couldn’t believe his eyes when he made his way through the terminal at Indianapolis International Airport Saturday evening.
The decorated World War II veteran returned with 69 other veterans after visiting the World War II memorial in Washington D.C. as part of the Honor Flight program.
With American flags waving and nearly a thousand friends and family cheering, the veterans — some in wheelchairs, some walking — were led into the airport with smiles on their faces and tears in their eyes.
Small children and adults alike shook the men and women’s hands as they went through a cordoned-off walkway. They were led by the iconic Gordon Pipers band, which traditionally performs at the Indy 500.
Accompanied by his son, Norm Snyder, Jack hugged his wife Betty and other family members as he went through the line.
“It’s awesome,” Jack said. “No words can describe it.”
The Indy Honor Flight is part of the National Honor Flight Network which transports America’s veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit those memorials dedicated to honor their sacrifices.
“It was great trip to experience with the veterans,” Norm said.
“We’ve been planning to do this for about a year,” he said. “Last fall, all the flights were all filled up.”
More than 30 members of the Snyder family gathered at the airport a few hours before Jack and Norm landed to ensure he had a proper homecoming.
“It’s a wonderful thing they started a program like this,” said Jack’s nephew, Rick Blackburn.
“It’s a privilege to be here.”
“I think this is awesome that Jack’s getting to go and it’s great Norm can go to experience it with him,” Norm’s wife, Kathy said as she waited anxiously for Jack’s arrival.