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Honor Flight Maine gets big welcome en route to Washington

As they entered the Baltimore airport, the welcome for Honor Flight Maine veterans was as warm as ever.

BALTIMORE — The City of Baltimore’s town crier, dressed in colonial-era costume, rang a large handbell and called out each of the Maine veterans as they walked or wheeled into the terminal from the jetway.

“It was horrendously marvelous,” laughed Joseph Scarborough, a U.S. Navy veteran of the Korean War, who now lives in Surry.

Other waiting passengers in the terminal stood and applauded.

“It means a lot. It brought tears to my eyes,” Scarborough said.

Those welcomes had become a tradition at the Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, where a number of Honor Flight groups come from around the country. The COVID pandemic grounded those flights until this spring.

Marine Corps veteran Kip Thompson likely spoke for many of them.

“It means a lot. In fact, 70 years ago, I was at Paris Island," Dawson said.

Asked if this welcome was better than Marine Corps training at that island, he smiled. “This is a lot better.”

The veterans and their escorts, called “guardians” will head into Washington, D.C., on Saturday to visit the World War II, Korean, and Vietnam war memorials. 

This trip includes just three WW II veterans, likely the smallest number since Honor Flight Maine began taking groups to the nation’s capital. The other veterans are dived between Korean and Vietnam-era vets and some who served during the Cold War years in between.

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