WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR/WPRI) — More than two dozen veterans were given a heroes send-off Saturday morning as they boarded an Honor Flight to Washington D.C.
For some, it’s their first trip to the nation’s capital, and their first time seeing monuments built in their honor.
The veterans – who served in World War II, the Korean War or the Vietnam War – will spend the day in Washington D.C. touring the monuments.
“It has quite an impact on us, and it almost brings you to tears, ” Korean War veteran Loren King said.
When David Tampio and his fellow veterans returned home from Vietnam, they didn’t get a warm welcome like this.
“It was just something that Vietnam vets never got when they came home,” Tampio said.
Thankfully, that has changed. That sense of gratitude is was on display says Wisconsin Congressman Mike Gallagher.
“We’ve come so far since the days of the Vietnam war when veterans were spat upon when they came back, now everyone really just recognizes their service,” Gallagher said.
The Honor Flight veterans also happened to be at the memorial just days after the 18th anniversary of 9/11, giving their visit even more meaning.
“Well, I think particularly on 9/11 it’s a reminder that in order to keep our country safe, we’ve asked historically a lot of brave men and women to do dangerous work,” Gallagher said.
It was a busy day for the group, moving from one sacred spot to the next. Though they still found moments to slow down and reflect upon.
“You think of all the people who died in world war two, then it was the other wars after that and they’re still going on. Will it ever stop?” World War II Veteran Ruth Seefeld said.
It may not, but hopefully neither will the push to give veterans like these the thanks they’ve earned.
The veterans return Saturday night.