Salina Veteran Takes Trip of a Lifetime

Bill Pericotti

Bill Pericotti

Bill Pericotti just took the trip of a lifetime.

A trip that he would gladly do over again.

Bill is a Vietnam Veteran. He served his country for 21 years. In 2014, he discovered Cans for Veterans, Kansas Honor Flights.

Cans for Veterans is an organization, that seeks to give all war Veterans the chance to travel to our nation’s capital, Washington DC. The trips are funded by people turning in empty aluminum cans, which are recycled for the cash to fully fund the trips.

“The trip is completely paid for, by this organization”, said Pericotti. “It’s a great thing.”

For Pericotti, the trip started in Wichita. He was accompanied by 3 World War II Vets, 8 Korean Vets, and 26 Vietnam Vets.

“The Vets, we all got to sit in the front of the plane,” said Pericotti. Once landed in Washington D.C., the other passengers got off the flight and, along with members of the Navy, greeted the Vets as they disembarked.

The Vets got a tour of Fort McHenry, the birthplace of the Star Spangled Banner.

Afterwards, a bus driver gave them a drive around the Nation’s capital.

Then, came the purpose of the trip.

“All of it was overwhelming. But, when you get a chance to see what we saw…”

What Pericotti is referring to, is the War Memorials. The Vets were shown the WWII Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, and the Iwo Jima Memorial.

They also saw the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers.

“We watched the Guard,” he said. “We laid down a wreath.”

The next day, though, the 3-day trip had to come to an end.

Or so they thought…

Upon landing in Wichita, over 600 people were awaiting their flight return. This included U.S. Representative Mike Pompeo, and Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell, who said a few words in honor of the Vets.

Bill says that the whole trip was great, but the homecoming was the best part.

The eldest to make the trip, was a 96-year-old World War II Veteran. There was also a 93-year-old Retired Colonel, who served in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam.

More information on Kansas Honor Flights, can be found at their website, KansasHonorFlight.org.

Updated: November 8, 2016 — 8:40 pm
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