GRAND CHUTE, Wis. (WFRV) - Tuesday a group of local veterans returned home from an honor flight to Pearl Harbor.
Wearing Hawaiian shirts and leis, the men arrived in the Fox Cities after a five day trip.
All their costs were covered by donations to say thank you to these heroes.
"Well it is going to take me a little while to absorb this all, but my gosh it is been so terrific" says Firman Balza.
At 88 years old Balza was the youngest veteran on this trip, the oldest was 94.
However, to each other the are still kids who lived through the attack.
"I was on the USS Maryland right in the middle of that thing" explains Balza. "Oklahoma was next to us and she got torpedoed and rolled over".
Stories of survival and loss shared through generations.
"He was coming out of the post office when the alarm was sounded" says Jay Davis.
71 years later Davis stood by his father's side as he returned to Pearl Harbor for the first time.
"The whole tour was just the neatest thing" says Davis. "We went place that other tours are not allowed to go".
Visiting memorials and sharing firsthand accounts of a day that lives in infamy.
"We went up to the punch bowl and saw those kids who are forever 20" says Balza. "Dead is dead, and being alive, that is the greatest thing that has ever happened to you".
Sadly, one of the veterans on the trip did not make it to Hawaii.
89 year old Mark Schaitel, from Sparta, died on the flight.
A wheelchair bearing his name carried a folded flag to honor his service.
The Old Glory Honor Flight program is working on its next mission, a trip to Washington DC in July.
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