WASHINGTON D.C. (WIVB) — 45 veterans embarked on the journey of a lifetime this weekend, on Buffalo Niagara Honor Flight’s 11th Mission to Washington D.C. The veterans are from the Buffalo area, Jamestown, Olean, and Bradford PA.

The group comprised of five WWII, 18 Korean, 19 Vietnam and four Cold War veterans were each accompanied by a guardian.  Eleven guardians have also served.

Group photo of the first 2022 Honor Flight.

This was also the first Honor Flight where a therapy dog came along for the ride, WNY Heroes Service dog, Stan.

Early Saturday morning, the group arrived to a warm welcome at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, complete with patriotic decorations.

They flew into Baltimore where they received an incredible water cannon salute on the runway. As the group got off the plane, they were greeted by dozens at the airport, cheering and thanking them for their service.

WWII Veteran, Richard Kiel of North Tonawanda celebrated that he will be turning 101-years-old, in just a few weeks. He was given red, white and blue balloons at the airport.

WWII Richard Kiel celebrating an upcoming 101st birthday.

The veterans and volunteers then boarded buses, and drove into Washington, D.C., with the Honor Flight Riders, a motorcycle group, leading the way.

First stop of the day was the WWII Memorial.

The four men pictured above are WW2 Veterans.

The Korean War Veterans Memorial was the next stop on the journey.

Next the group visited the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. It was an emotional experience for many.

The group then had lunch at the U.S. Navy Museum.

The United States Air Force Memorial was next on the itinerary.

The highest free-standing spire is 270 feet tall.

Arlington National Cemetery, the resting place of more than 400,000 veterans and their dependents was the next stop.

Three local brothers and their cousin, who all served, had the honor of laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. (Richard Wohlfeil-91-Airforce Harold Wohlfeil-86-Army Raymond Wohlfeil-83-Navy James Gatta-84-Army.)

Then it was off to dinner and an incredible return home at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport. You can see that video below.

Gabrielle Mediak is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.