95-Year-Old WWII Vet Smiles In Photo Moments Before He Passes Away During Return Flight Home

Frank Manchel was a sergeant in the US Army during World War II. At age 95, he recently traveled from California to Washington, DC, for an all-expenses paid trip, courtesy of Honor Flight San Diego.

The World War II veteran collapsed and passed away on his return flight from Washington D.C. where he spent his final weekend touring monuments and memorials dedicated to all he and other veterans have sacrificed.

The 95-year-old, was in the nation’s capital with Honor Flight San Diego, a nonprofit dedicated to bringing veterans to Washington D.C. to see landmarks erected in honor of their service, like the National World War II Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, to name a few.

Manchel was airborne on his way back home when he collapsed. He was not able to be resuscitated.

He spent his last moments alongside his two sons who went with him on the trip, and spent time over the weekend with his 93-year-old brother who met up with him in Washington.

Frank passed away “quickly and peacefully,” on the Honor Flight. His body was draped in an American flag.

“My father’s passing was the ending to the most amazing weekend, surrounded by his newest best friends,” Manchel’s son Bruce said. “We thank all of you – Honor Flight San Diego, American Airlines, San Diego International Airport, friends, and supporters for your concern and for allowing the weekend to be so special for all of us to share together. Frank passed quickly and peacefully and the compassion and respect that that was shown to our family will always be treasured. May he rest in peace as he is now with his other beloved son Jimmy.”

A photo of Frank on the flight — taken just before he collapsed — shows a hero on his way home.

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