LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Tuesday’s episode of “NCIS” will give a glimpse at the Honor Flight experience for war veterans — a journey two Lafayette friends will never forget.
The popular TV show’s storyline may be fictional, but lifelong friends Denny Fisher and Sam Smith experienced the real thing.
They became best friends while attending Jefferson High School. Fast forward a few decades, and together they’re checking the Honor Flight off their bucket list.
“I’m just so delighted to be able to go with him 60 years after our friendship began,” said Fisher.
News 18 first met with Fisher and Smith last April. The friends were accepted to take the Greater Lafayette Honor Flight.
“And that’s one of my first flights in about 20 some years,” said Smith. “I don’t fly, but I fly with him.”
Fisher thoroughly enjoyed his time on the flight,
“It was probably one of the greatest days in my life,” Fisher said. “It was really a blessing that Sam and I got chosen to be on the same flight.”
Greater Lafayette is one of 135 locations of the National Honor Flight Network. The flights take war veterans to Washington, D.C.
“As we were getting off the flight, people were clapping hands and honoring us,” Smith said.
In Washington, the veterans get a chance to visit memorials dedicated to honor their sacrifices.
“And take pictures and just enjoy the presence in our nation’s capital,” Fisher said. “That was another thing that struck my mind.”
On the flight back, the veterans take a trip back in time.
“And I couldn’t believe it,” Smith said.
It was time for mail call.
“Every military veteran remembers mail call from their military days,” Fisher said. “There were a lot of days that went by where we did not receive a letter.”
Each veteran received a large envelope with letters from around the Greater Lafayette community and family members, each person thanking them for their service.
“I think I opened three or four and read the first three or four,” Fisher said. “By then, I had tears running down my cheeks.”
Smith said, “You’re reading those letters, and I just, tears started coming out of my eyes and I can’t read them.”
The Honor Flight experience is something they will remember forever.
“To be able to go with your best friend, that’s unheard of,” said Smith.
Both are looking forward to Tuesday night’s episode of “NCIS.” They are interested in seeing how the show’s producers tie in the experience.
“It’s amazing to be honored,” said Smith. “I know they’re going to do a good job on it because those producers are good.”