Warwick, R.I. (WPRI) — Victor Colella wiped his eyes with a handkerchief as he and two-dozen other veterans were given heroes welcome to T.F. Green International Airport Saturday morning.
The group of veterans that boarded Honor Flight X-Ray were hardly able to contain their emotions.
“I’m so excited I can’t even talk,” Colella, 96, told Eyewitness News. “It’s unbelievable.”
The Honor Flight program affords veterans, like Colella, the opportunity to visit the Washington, D.C. monuments erected in their honor free of charge. Honor Flight XRAY was sponsored by Pappas Physical Therapy.
The flight included World War II veterans like Colella, as well as Vietnam and Korean War veterans.
Colella’s ticket was booked just 48 hours after he appeared on Eyewitness News in August.
The nonagenarian became a viral sensation after contesting a speeding ticket before Providence Municipal Court Judge Frank Caprio on Caprio’s syndicated television show, “Caught in Providence.”
Colella explained he was taking his adult son, who is battling cancer, to a doctor’s appointment the day he was issued a speeding ticket.
Colella’s story caught George Farrell’s eye.
“I saw it on Channel 12,” Farrell, the chairman of the Rhode Island Honor Flight program, explained. “We did quick research – it’s easy to find names and numbers these days – and through a lot of support we were able to visit him within 48 hours of WPRI’s story and he was willing to come.”
Colella was one of the two oldest on the flight and was honored with the rare opportunity of laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
“It’s unbelievable,” Colella said. “I never thought in my life anything like this, I tell you. I’m really speechless.”
To learn more about the Honor Flight program, including veteran application forms, click here.