James Eckert, a Korean War veteran, was supposed to go on an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. in April, but the coronavirus forced the cancellation of that trip.
It was rescheduled for June, but the ongoing pandemic meant it was canceled again.
So the Honor Flight Network recently decided to honor Eckert as best it could until the trip could be rescheduled for next year.
“We have to do it now, otherwise it’s going to be too late,” said Randy Eckert, James’ uncle who was set to be his guardian on the trip.
While the actual honor flight is still in the works, the organization coordinated to have fire trucks, police cars, motorcyclists and civilians parade past the home of James.
He, and fellow Millstadt veteran Robert Stumpf, also received quilts with the American flag on them.
Randy said the best part for his uncle, however, was the hundreds of letters written to him by Millstadt students.
“That was a really big thing for him,” he said of that mail day replication.
Randy said James, who is in his mid-80s, enjoyed the festivities.
“It was great,” Randy said. “You’re looking forward to this flight going to Washington, D.C., but then we couldn’t go with the pandemic and everything that’s going on. So this was really just a breath of fresh air to show that people cared for him.”