Madera’s World War II veterans were greeted as heroes upon their return from the first Central Valley Honor Flight that brought 65 other veterans from the area visit and tour of Washington D.C. The four Madera veterans, Ted Sanderson, J.B. Overstreet, Phil Benson, Frank Olono and the others arrived at Fresno-Yosemite International Airport to a thousand cheering, flag waving, and thankful relatives, friends, soldiers, sailors and citizens. Madera’s VFW Post 1981 also sent a large contingent to welcome home their fellow members.
Despite the flight arriving Thursday night two hours late, those who came to greet them, many standing for hours, gave the veterans a heroes tribute when they marched into the terminal proceeded by bagpipes and an honor guard.
The veterans’ pathway was cordoned off and stretched from the main terminal to the baggage claim area with uniformed members of every branch of service saluting and shaking hands with the veterans as they slowly made their way past the Fresno State band playing patriotic music and the Bulldog cheerleaders greeting every veteran as they passed. Whether it was a walking veteran, one with a cane, or in a wheelchair, hundreds of people reached out in open admiration along the way.
Madera’s foursome, accompanied by their guardians, had arrived in Washington late Tuesday afternoon and enjoyed a dinner provided by a local VFW post before retiring to their rooms at a Hilton Hotel...