WWII veterans honored with ‘Dream Flight’ in Virginia skies

Published: Aug. 27, 2021 at 4:30 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 27, 2021 at 8:50 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - It was a once-in-a-lifetime flight for two Virginia World War II veterans, taking to the skies in a historic 1940s open cockpit Boeing.

“It’s just something you don’t see nowadays, but I remember them well,” said Peter Reynolds, WWII veteran.

Reynolds was deployed to Normandy at just 19-years-old, where he worked as a cannoneer, filling up artillery with ammunition. He received a Purple Heart after he was struck by shrapnel from a ‘screaming mimi,’ that injured his cervical vertebrae.

“I was scared because blood started coming out of my mouth and onto the ground,” Reynolds said. “I laid there and thought this may be it because the medics couldn’t hear me since the shrapnel lodged in my chest.”

Thursday’s flight honors veterans such as Reynolds for their significant courage in the face of danger. The trip is part of a mission called Operation September Freedom led by a national organization, Dream Flights which aims to take 1,000 WWII veterans around the country on a flight to thank them for their service.

WWII veterans taking 'dream flight'
WWII veterans taking 'dream flight'(none)

“For us to be able to do something like this is such a small thing, but it means the world to them,” said Marcus Smith, pilot of Dream Flights. “Each time I am humbled and just rewarded by seeing them in the skies again, it’s just an incredible experience being with them.”

The flight was only 15 to 20 minutes long, but Reynolds said the experience will stay with him for years. Reminding him of his service, and the service members he met along the way.

“I’m going to remember this one, no doubt about it,” Reynolds said. “I just hope we make it down as safely as when we go up!”

As expected, everyone did land safely.

Operation Dream Flight is granting veterans another chance to be in the skies; donate to their program to make it possible. Find more information HERE.

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