Nursing home takes veterans on a "virtual" Honor Flight

MENOMINEE, Mich. (WBAY) - A snowy Tuesday morning included quite the unexpected surprise and special tribute at a Menominee, Michigan, nursing home.

Nine veterans at Atrium Post Acute Care enjoyed an "honorary Honor Flight."

"They had no idea until about 9 this morning when I presented them with the shirts thanking them for their service and letting them know that they were going on a virtual trip to Washington, DC, today," activities director Cassie Emmer said.

Organized by staff, the dining room became a plane with patriotic decorations.

And with the help of the Upper Peninsula Honor Flight, a retired pilot and video, the veterans could see their war memorials around the nation's capital.

"It definitely means a lot. I asked if he was ever at the memorials and he said he wasn't, and I told him I was a few years ago. But it's something that he always wanted to see," Marv Fernstrum, the son of William Fernstrum, said.

Health reasons have made an actual Honor Flight impossible for these veterans.

Today the honor bestowed upon them meant the world.

"Means a lot, because it shows me that people think about you still and it's just their way of saying thank you," veteran John Everson said.

And in Honor Flight tradition, the hallways of the nursing home became an airport terminal. Students from Menominee High School joined family and friends waving flags and posters to welcome the veterans home.

"It makes me very happy knowing that they got to see everything that a veteran would going on the Honor Flight, and knowing how much we appreciate what they did for us," Emmer said.

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