WWII veteran’s Honor Flight experience introduces him to 19th great-grandchild

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While the government is shut down, national parks are closed, but that didn't stop one group of World War II veterans from taking an Honor Flight from Kansas City, Mo., Washington D.C.

Veteran Nick Kennedy was on Wednesday's flight, and while he said it was a long day, it was worth it.

"We were the only people that went through the gates," he said.

But that wasn't the highlight of the trip. Just a few minutes into the memorial visit, Kennedy couldn't believe his eyes.

"I saw my granddaughter and the baby, and that was a plus," he said.

The baby, born on the Fourth of July, is Kennedy's 19th great-grandchild, whom he met and held for the first time.

"Oh, it was great," he said. "It was great. I can't keep from getting tears in my eyes when I think about it."

After a family picture featuring four generations, the day of memories still wasn't over.

More than 1,000 people crammed into Kansas City International Airport to welcome Kennedy and the other veterans on the flight home.

"I never shook so many hands in my life," he said.

Kennedy and his wife of 67 years were grateful he had the experience. And Kennedy said despite all the 'thank-yous' he received from strangers, he couldn't help but be the most thankful of all.

"I've been fortunate," he said. "I've had a lot of days when I was happy with my family."

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