Thanking our troops is important because they sacrifice so much for this country on a daily basis, but showing appreciation to those of past wars is also necessary.

Those veterans need to know that we haven’t forgotten their sacrifices either.

Last month, seven local World War II veterans traveled to Washington, D.C., along with 85 others from around the state in the Honor Flight of South Carolina. The initiative of the Honor Flight program is to give these veterans a chance to see the World War II Memorial which didn’t open until 2004. Many of those involved in the war haven’t had the chance to see the memorial.

This day trip is free of charge for both the veterans and their guardians. The Sept. 26 trip was sponsored by the Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina.

So many emotions were felt that day. Excitement was evident starting from the moment the Honor Flight participants filed into the airport. There were smiles and at times, tears, as the veterans shared stories, visited different monuments that brought back memories and were constantly thanked for their service throughout the day by people walking by.

Obviously, those of the Honor Flight program and its sponsors also deserve thanks for making this day possible for these individuals.

They offer an unforgettable opportunity to these veterans and make sure that they’re treated with ultimate respect on these trips.

To the residents who cheered them on at both the Columbia Metropolitan and Reagan National airports – your overwhelming support deeply touched both the veterans and their guardians.

Offering these veterans a day that they will never forget is the least anyone could do for them. All of the hugs, cheering and “thank you’s” coming from not only their family and friends but also from absolute strangers shows them that this country is still grateful for what they did decades ago.

And they deserve feeling appreciated.

Thank you, to all veterans, for your service.