FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) It’s been a couple years since WANE had a presence in the TRF Parade, but that all changed on Saturday with a tribute to our nation’s veterans and Honor Flight Northeast Indiana.
The non-profit organization takes veterans on a free trip to Washington D.C. to see memorials that were built in their honor. Back in April, Honor Flight Northeast Indiana took its 15th group of veterans to the nation’s capital.
Crowds lined the streets of downtown Fort Wayne for the parade at 10 a.m. Leaders with the Three Rivers Festival (TRF) expected about 50,000 people to attend the parade.
A dozen veterans rode on the Honor Flight float. Most of them served World War II,but there were also a couple who served in the Korean War and the Vietnam War. There were also 10 of the organization’s board members and guardians, as well as NewsChannel 15 staff who walked in the parade.
Eileen Zeissig was among the veterans who were on the float. She served in WW II and was stationed in both Virginia and Germany.
As the float continued on the parade rout, spectators stood and clapped for the veterans.
Zeissig said being in the parade was amazing. She explained that when she returned from the war, there wasn’t a huge celebration.
“We came home and went to work. We didn’t have a ceremony,” she said. “We didn’t talk about our experiences. It was just one of those things.”
“It made me feel very humble. I was so appreciative of everyone that was clapping and standing up. It was amazing and I can’t thank them enough.”
Zeissing added that she was thankful to Honor Flight. “They were exceptional. I’ll never forget it. It was the most humble and exhilarating trip of my life… I’m not lying and I’ve been around the world,” she said.
There were more than 100 organizations who participated in this year’s event. A special thanks to NewsChannel 15’s Art Director Gregg Tarr, who designed and built our float for the parade.