CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) — There was a heroes welcome and patriotic parade at the St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport for the Bay Area veterans returning home from the Honor Flight of West Central Florida’s 41st mission to Washington, D.C.

Typically, there are only a few female veterans, but this flight included more than 20 women who served in the military.

“Honestly, the highlight to me was seeing the Korean War Memorial,” Air Force Veteran Kathy said. “It just took my breath away.”

Alvarez said she spent more than half of her 14 years of service stationed at the MacDill Air Force Base. She was one of the 22 female veterans to take this special trip to the war memorials and monuments in our nation’s capital.

“I think its so awesome and I’m so happy to see women in the service because we can do anything if we try to do it,” Alvarez said.

Each veteran on the Honor Flight is accompanied by a guardian.

Air Force Veteran Edward Fetchik went with someone who followed in his footsteps.

“My son, he’s a Master Sergeant,” Fetchik said.

Fetchik’s son is a veteran of the war in Afghanistan. Now he has new memories with his father he’ll never forget.

“I was speechless,” Jonathan Fetchik said. “But it meant everything just to be there with him during his moment. It was great.”

As she returns home to Spring Hill, Alvarez said she is thinking of the brave men and women who didn’t get that chance to go home while fighting for their country.

“I’m not the one to be thanked,” she said. “I just did a job. The ones that are thanked are the ones that didn’t come home, that we memorialized today. That’s the heroes. That’s the ones that need to be thanked.”