TAHLEQUAH, Oklahoma - The Cherokee Nation flew seven Cherokee World War II veterans to Washington D.C. Tuesday to tour memorial sites.

The Cherokee Warrior Flight is similar to what's offered by the national Honor Flight organization, which takes veterans to the nation's capital to see memorials dedicated in honor of their service.

“This is a way to tell our Cherokee veterans thank you and that we will never forget their service and sacrifices,” said Cherokee Nation Deputy Principal Chief S. Joe Crittenden, a Navy veteran who is traveling on the flight. 

“For most of these men who served in World War II, this will be a trip of a lifetime as they get to see the memorials and monuments honoring their role in defending our great country. They are truly the greatest generation, and we can't say thank you enough."

The tribe says more than 4,000 of its members are military veterans.

On Wednesday, the group will visit the World War II Memorial, the U.S. Capitol and other sites in Washington.

Those participating in the flight are: 89-year-old Steve Downing Jr. of Locust Grove, 88-year-old Dewey Alberty of Tahlequah, 88-year-old Charles Carey of Hulbert, 97-year-old Guy Wilson of Hulbert, 94-year-old William Wood of Vinita, 91-year-old Eugene Fox of Bartlesville and 92-year-old Joseph Leathers of Big Cabin.

The seven veterans will return to Tulsa on Thursday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.