LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) – It was a day of celebration and reflection for veterans on Saturday's Freedom Honor Flight.
World War II and Korean War veterans enjoyed the sites in Washington D.C. that paid tribute to their service.
When they returned from the trip, the vets received a grand welcoming with a firework display, the Gale-Ettrick Trempealeau marching band, and a pillowcase from sixth grader Jonah Faas.
"It's just really special because they help protect our country," Faas said.
Faas, who attends La Crescent Middle School, raised the most money in a school fundraiser to help make pillowcases for the Freedom Honor Flight veterans.
In April, volunteers sewed 200 red, white and blue pillowcases for the veterans, each with a handwritten note of appreciation from the sewers.
"It's kinda special because my dad is a veteran," Faas said. He raised about $80.
James Duffrin, a sixth grader at Logan Middle School, helped Faas with the honor. Duffrin raised $52 dollars – the most money in his grade.
"Well I had already been saving for something big – an iPad – and I already had like $40 of it, but then I raised the other $12 by doing chores around the house and stuff," Duffrin said.
"I think it's gonna be special to them because the pillowcase would probably bring memories back of when they were in DC," Faas added.
As the vets lay down, they may remember the trip to D.C. And when Faas and Duffrin put their heads on their pillows, they may very well remember their day with the veterans, too.
Overall both the Logan and La Crescent fundraisers earned more than $1,300 to help make the pillows.
The next Freedom Honor Flight is Sept. 21. Pillowcases have already been sewn for those veterans.
UPDATE: The story has been updated to accurately report Duffrin as a student of Logan Middle School.