Nightly News | May 27, 2013
>>> memorial day is about a high honor for some of our nation's aging veterans, and how one special organization is making a difference for some of the greatest generation . tonight our military analyst retired army colonel jack jacobs , himself a recipient of the medal of honor , has our report with a group of vets from dayton, ohio.
>> reporter: 35 veterans bound for the nation's capital. most of them for the very first time.
>> you want to talk about old times?
>> reporter: this trip is one of many organized by the honor flight network every year. sending more than 10,000 older veteranses to the washington memorials honoring their service and their sacrifice. [ applause ]
>> reporter: each is paired with a guardian and nurses are on hand.
>> ice packs, a hug, just let us know and --
>> i need one.
>> oh! [ laughter ]
>> reporter: after landing the men and women spend time at the world war ii , vietnam, and korean war memorials, sharing stories about their service.
>> prisoner of war in germany.
>> i came home from okinawa. it took me three weeks to hitchhike home.
>> it brings back memories.
>> reporter: the memories of those lost.
>> it's hard to explain. i think about all the guys that never get to see it.
>> reporter: and that uncertainty of when or if they ever return home.
>> i was married and had one little girl i had never seen. that's why i came home.
>> reporter: on this day past and present meet. for marine james roberts , seeing the iconic iwo jima memorial cast in bronze has special meaning because he was there.
>> i was within one quarter of a mile when they raised ethat flag. i was covering for the troops to protect them from the japanese so they wouldn't come in and ambush them while they were raising that up.
>> can everybody wave their right hand? for the navy guys, it's over on this side. [ laughter ]
>> reporter: years of wisdom peppered with wit.
>> you're looking good for your age.
>> so are you.
>> reporter: there is a sense of brotherhood among the men who began today's journey as strangers. remembering themselves as young men and women who set out into the unknown. for their country, risked everything.
>> talk about us being the best generation. we just did what we had to do. we weren't heroes.
>> reporter: at arlington national cemetery , the changing of the guard and, for some, the turning of the page.
>> it's been a marvelous experience. one that i will never forget.
>> it's a way to put behind you some of what you haven't yet, some of the experiences that you want to forget.
>> reporter: colonel jack jacobs , nbc news, washington.