ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – More than two dozen New Mexico veterans are expected to return to a welcoming crowd at the Albuquerque Sunport today, Friday, June 3, as part of the Northern New Mexico Honor Flight program. This year’s flight includes two World War II veterans, eleven veterans from the Korean War and twelve veterans from the Vietnam War.

Formed in 2005, the national Honor Flight program offers free trips for veterans to visit national war monuments in Washington D.C. and the Arlington National Cemetery. The goal of the non-profit program is to help veterans see the nation’s war memorials by providing all-expenses-paid trips to veterans who wouldn’t otherwise be able to travel.

The Northern NM group’s return marks the first honor flight in two years, as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the group’s work. Veterans are expected to return on a Southwest Airlines flight around 2:00 p.m. Friday, June 3.

The New Mexico Department of Veterans Affairs says the public is “invited to welcome back and cheer the veterans as they arrive from their emotional two-day visit. That welcoming crowd is expected to gather in support inside of the Sunport’s Great Hall.

Honor Flight organizers are asking people who want to gather in support to arrive at the Sunport around 1:30 p.m.

In 2014, KRQE News 13 previously reported on an Honor Flight’s journey from Albuquerque to Washington D.C.