WASHINGTON, D.C. – 81 Korean and Vietnam veterans from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula took a trip of a lifetime to our nation’s capital in an honor flight. They got to visit a handful of sites dedicated to those who fought and served for our country.
After the weather caused hours of delays, the Upper Peninsula Honor Flight made their way to Washington D.C. But with just a handful of hours here, the group made the most of this trip.
“It’s put us back but we’re doing the best we can, we’re all having a good time,” said veteran Doug Heath. “We’ll do the best we can, we’ll see everything we can.”
81 veterans who served in Korean and Vietnam wars were part of this honor flight. They got a chance to visit the Iwo Jima memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, Lincoln memorial, Korean memorial and the Vietnam Veterans memorial.
“It’s just a dream,” said veteran Julie Burrell. “I love being a veteran, I’ve always wanted to be in the military since I was a little kid. I just love it. To see all these people who fought for our freedom.”
This is the first time visiting our nation’s capital for many of these veterans, giving them a chance to see the monuments and sites dedicated to them. But this trip was unique for a handful of veterans. Three women were part of the honor flight and in a surprise ceremony at Arlington Cemetery, those women became inducted in the women’s memorial here in D.C.
“We used to meet the planes that came in with the wounded and I was also in charge of the immunizations, I gave the shots to the people going over to Germany and Vietnam also,” said Burell describing her service.
For many, this trip was also an emotional one.
“There are two names on the wall that I knew over there in Vietnam that had gotten killed,” said veteran Mike Lequia. “It’s not my first time seeing it. Back at home I saw it on the Traveling Wall three times so I knew they were there already and so this is the first time I touched the wall and it’s a whole different feeling.”
On this trip, they get a chance to see the names of fellow service members and pay their respects to those who fought and served alongside them.