Korean War vet surprises student who missed prom for Honor Flight

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WCMH) – A Korean War veteran and an Ohio high school student now have a bond that both say will last forever.

On Saturday, a group of students served as guardians for the 89 veterans who traveled to Washington D.C. as part of the latest Honor Flight Columbus.

During the flight, Herb Cunningham met Hannah Secrist, from Gahanna-Lincoln High School, and heard that she was skipping the prom to be on the trip.

“At that point, I made an offer to Hannah that since she missed her prom, that later on when we get back to the Columbus airport, we might have our little prom dinner of our own,” he explained.

Cunningham said he then called his wife, who was at the airport with the meal when the flight landed.

Photos show the two enjoying their “prom date” on the airport floor.

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Dan Pearlman@danpearlman

INCREDIBLE: Gahanna-Lincoln junior Hannah Secrist skipped her prom to travel w/ 89 veterans, on their Honor Flight Columbus. So, when the group returned Army veteran Herb Cunningham bought her dinner, and the two had a prom-night date on the airport floor. (Photos: Dawn Boerger)

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“I’m so grateful,” Secrist said. “I’m grateful for what they [the veterans] did in the wars for us and to take the time for me was really sweet.”

Cunningham said the gesture was the least he could do to show his appreciation for Secrist.

“I think sometimes we have a bit of a negative impression on young people today,” he said. “You see so many things in the news that can be discouraging, but in this particular case there was clear evidence of a right heart and a right spirit and it just was something that I couldn’t pass up, acknowledging and expressing my thanks in a very crazy way for what Hannah was willing to do.”

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