LAND O' LAKES (FOX 13) - We've brought you many stories about Honor Flights, where local veterans are flown, for free, to Washington D.C. for the day. It's a special way to say "thank you" for their service.
But not all vets can make the trip, usually grounded for medical reasons. So Saturday, the sights and sounds were brought right to them.
"I was a Sergeant when I got out. Buck Sergeant," said Elliott Buras."I changed engines on the B-29."
Buras spent his younger years in Air Force. Now he spends his years in good company, surrounded by 120 fellow American heroes at the Baldomero Lopez State Veterans Nursing Home in Land O' Lakes.
"It was my honor to be able to serve my country," Buras said.
Sadly, the majority of people at this nursing home can't step foot on a plane to see the memorials built in their honor. Because of that, Operation Patriot and Honor Flight West Central Florida brought the experience directly to them.
"We are actually bringing the memorials and everything they would see on an honor flight in Washington," said Ken Escobio, President of Operation Patriot. "We are bringing them here at the facility. We've got videos we are going to show them, we've got speakers, we've got a General coming in to talk to them."
From the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to the World War II Memorial, from patriotic music to the Bomber Girls, these veterans were transported to a different place and time.
"The expressions and the looks of these individuals, there is nothing but appreciation," Escobio said. "For some, it's just closure. A lot of them start crying during the event. They actually can't believe that many people are thanking them for what they've done."
Not all of these veterans got a warm welcome home. It's never too late to remind them they are treasured and certainly not forgotten.
"It makes me real thankful that people would take the time and come and spend time with us," Buras said. "I think it's wonderful."
Each veteran also got a surprise mail call with letters and cards from family and people in the community, thanking them for their service. This was the first "Honor Flight at Home" program in the country to be held at an all-veterans facility.