GRAPEVINE (CBSDFW.COM) – Their experiences during World War II shaped the rest of their lives. On Friday morning, a group of 38 North Texas war veterans traveled from DFW International Airport to Washington, D.C. to visit the national memorial that commemorates their military service, finally seeing it for the first time.

It’s Honor Flight DFW #9 — the ninth trip out of North Texas.

Robert Cash of Fairview remembers his 13 missions over Europe with great detail. But he finds great difficulty holding back the tears when he talks about those who died. “I was the sole survivor of my crew,” the 88-year-old said.

Cash is being escorted to the National World War II Memorial by his daughter, Beki Sansing. “All of his friends have gone [on an Honor Flight] and they said it’s just a fabulous trip, and I know I’m going to cry,” said Sansing.

“I’ve been waiting three years for this,” said Cash.

The veterans take the trip free of charge. Their escorts must pay their own way. Donations, volunteers and corporations make the trips possible. The Honor Flight program was started because such military veterans were unable to see the memorial. The organization began with just one flight, and has since grown into a national program that brings large groups of both World War II and Korean War veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit the memorials and be among others who served.

A water cannon greeted their airplane as they prepared for takeoff. American Airlines is supplying the airplane and the crew for this two-day trip. DFW International Airport hosted to a celebration for the veterans prior to their departure.

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