A San Diego World War II veteran collapsed and died 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.
Frank Manchel, 95, 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.
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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.
Manchel was a Technical Sergeant in the U.S. Army during the war.
According to Honor Flight San Diego, Manchel’s body was draped with an American Flag before he was taken off the plane. Two chaplains who also went on the tour were on hand to pray for him with his family and friends.
As he deplaned, medical personnel, firefighter and law enforcement saluted him.
"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."
American Airlines offered to fly Manchel’s family members and his body to its final resting place in Michigan at no cost.
Honor Flight San Diego was founded in 2010 and has taken more than 1,400 veterans on their Tour of Honor.