13 Marines returning from Afghanistan were honored with the welcome home they truly deserved on a flight from Chicago to San Diego earlier this week.

USO volunteer John Colas organized a surprise water cannon salute from some local fire trucks as the plane touched down at Chicago O’Hare and a group of fire fighters, police officers, and airport employees cheered them on as they entered the terminal.

But the celebration didn’t end there.

American Airlines has a policy of upgrading any active service member to first class when there’s an available seat, so when making their connection to San Diego, six of the soldiers were moved to the front of the plane.

But here’s the best part of the story. When some first class passengers found out what was going on, they gave up their own seats so all thirteen Marines could travel in style together.

“People were very generous in getting up and approaching the agent, offering their seats up for upgrade to allow the Marines to all sit up front,” said Linda Kozma, a military liaison for American Airlines.

“Oh my gosh, they were ever so grateful,” she added. “They asked if they could hug us, shook our hands, very thankful, especially after coming off a transport for five days. We will never forget them. It’s something American Airlines obviously really promotes is our support of the military,” Kozma said.

Watch their entire story below:

Veteran’s Day takes place this Monday, November 11. Be sure to show your thanks to the men and women who risk their lives every day to protect our country!

-Sarah Carroll, 97.1 AMP Radio/Los Angeles


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