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Sixty-three veterans prepare to board their flight for the Central Valley Honor Flight #21 Monday morning, May 16, 2022, at Fresno Yosemite International Airport in California.

Sixty-three veterans prepare to board their flight for the Central Valley Honor Flight #21 Monday morning, May 16, 2022, at Fresno Yosemite International Airport in California. (Eric Paul Zamora, Fresno Bee/TNS)

(Tribune News Service) — A Central Valley Honor Flight plane left Fresno, Calif., on Monday for the first time since the trips were disrupted by the pandemic two years ago.

The last Honor Flight scheduled for April 2020 was canceled about the same time the reaction to COVID-19 shutdown many events that would bring groups together.

US Army veteran Sam Gonzales of Modesto, right, is escorted by David Baltierra, center, as the two and 62 others veterans prepare to board their flight for the Central Valley Honor Flight #21 Monday morning, May 16, 2022 at Fresno Yosemite International Airport.

US Army veteran Sam Gonzales of Modesto, right, is escorted by David Baltierra, center, as the two and 62 others veterans prepare to board their flight for the Central Valley Honor Flight #21 Monday morning, May 16, 2022 at Fresno Yosemite International Airport. (Eric Paul Zamora, Fresno Bee/TNS)

The plane that left Monday was full of 63 veterans who have waited two years for the 21st Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., where they will visit monuments to those who served.

The events are filled with fanfare as many gather, wave flags and cheer for the veterans as they proceed through the Fresno Yosemite International Airport lobby on their way to the plane.

as 63 veterans prepared to board their flight for the Central Valley Honor Flight #21 Monday morning, May 16, 2022, at Fresno Yosemite International Airport.

as 63 veterans prepared to board their flight for the Central Valley Honor Flight #21 Monday morning, May 16, 2022, at Fresno Yosemite International Airport. (Eric Paul Zamora, Fresno Bee/TNS)

A similar scene is expected to receive the veterans as they return to Fresno in three days.

The organizers also scheduled events at the former Castle Air Force Base in Atwater in Merced County.

A bagpiper leads 63 veterans in a procession as they board their flight for the Central Valley Honor Flight #21 Monday morning, May 16, 2022, at Fresno Yosemite International Airport.

A bagpiper leads 63 veterans in a procession as they board their flight for the Central Valley Honor Flight #21 Monday morning, May 16, 2022, at Fresno Yosemite International Airport. (Eric Paul Zamora, Fresno Bee/TNS)

Central Valley Honor Flight is a non-profit organization that funds the flights at no cost to the veterans thanks to donations from the community and businesses.

Sixty-three veterans prepare to board their flight for the Central Valley Honor Flight #21 as they are honored Monday morning, May 16, 2022, at Fresno Yosemite International Airport.

Sixty-three veterans prepare to board their flight for the Central Valley Honor Flight #21 as they are honored Monday morning, May 16, 2022, at Fresno Yosemite International Airport. (Eric Paul Zamora, Fresno Bee/TNS)

©2022 The Fresno Bee.

Visit fresnobee.com.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


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