LA CROSSE, Wis. - Nearly 100 local veterans are being treated to a trip of a lifetime Saturday.
The latest Freedom Honor Flight to Washington D.C., took off this morning from La Crosse's airport.
It's a day of recognition that most World War 2 and Korean War veterans never really experienced as service men and women.
For the first time, the majority of those on board are Korean War veterans, but there are still some World War II Vets on the flight including a husband and wife who became the first couple ever to take the journey together.
"Couldn't believe it," said Maynard Tauscher a World War 2 Vet.
"Surprised, that there's so many," said Kay Tauscher, Maynard's wife and World War 2 Vet.
Early Saturday morning the Tauscher's were among one hundred local veterans who made their way to La Crosse Municipal Airport for this latest Freedom Honor Flight.16705026
It's a free trip for veterans to Washington D.C., to visit the monuments built in honor of their service and sacrifice, and for Kay, savoring the moment is extra special.
"Because he's something special," Kay said about her husband.
The West Salem couple is the first husband and wife to take the trip together, but that's not all.
"[A] couple of folks on this flight today are also having a birthday today," said Bill Hoel of Freedom Honor Flight.
Maynard gets to celebrate his 91st birthday truly in high-flying fashion, and with the girl he fell in love with so long ago.
"It'll be a good birthday present," said Maynard.
They first met while serving in the coast guard. She worked the switchboard and he as a first-class fireman.
"There were four of us out one night, and that's when Japan hit Pearl Harbor," said Maynard. "We, all four, decided to go sign up the next day. We all went down to go sign up and we all got in."
And then you met me," laughed Kay.
The Tauschers have loved and laughed their way through 68 years of marriage, but never thought they'd get the opportunity for this trip of a lifetime.
"We never really thought we were really that important," said Kay. "There's so many others."
"Oh yeah," said Maynard.
"And I got you babe," Kay joked.
"You had to bring that up, huh?" asked Maynard.
"Huh?" asked Kay.
"Oh boy," said Maynard.
So as these two love birds take flight, they know they'll have the perfect flying companion sitting right next to them.
"I'll be with Mr. Wonderful," said Kay."There she starts again," said Maynard.
The Tauscher's and the rest of the veterans will be back in home at about 9 p.m. Saturday and will be greeted not only by their loved ones, but with the sights and sounds of a La Crosse Skyrockers fireworks display, and the UW-La Crosse marching band -- a true hero's welcome.
So far, 1,000 veterans have been on the trip to see the memorials in D.C.
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