(VIDEO) Honor Flight Makes Emotional Voyage To DC With 114 Combat Vets
Old Glory Honor Flight, the fantastic organization that has become famous for bringing WWII vets to Washington D.C. to visit the war’s memorial, launched its one-time-only Vietnam Honor Flight on August 2nd to mark the 40th Anniversary of the end of hostilities there.
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WASHINGTON — They came to visit their buddies, men who are forever 19 or 20 or 21.
Jim Zitzelsberger came to see Keith McEnany. Dick Young found Kevin Ferguson.
George Gilles looked for Thomas Cole and found him. Jim Schertz visited Douglas O’Neill.
The faces reflected in the shiny black granite have grown gray and wrinkled. Their memories of their fallen comrades remain fresh.
“Him and I were close buddies in Vietnam,” Gilles, 64, said of Cole.
“He was my closest friend in Vietnam. He was engaged to be married. He was only 30 days away from leaving the war,” Gilles, a Marine from Oshkosh, said of his friend killed by a rocket in 1968. “I never made friends in Vietnam after that.”
Gilles and 113 other Vietnam veterans traveled to Washington, D.C., August 2, 2013 on the first ever Yellow Ribbon Honor Flight for Wisconsin veterans. The group left EAA AirVenture in the morning and returned after the air show.
Appleton-based Old Glory Honor Flight, whose motto is “It’s never too late to say thank you,” has organized numerous one-day trips to Washington for World War II veterans to visit memorials. To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the end of hostilities in Vietnam, organizers arranged a one time-only trip for Vietnam veterans.
Out of 525 applications, 114 were randomly chosen for the Yellow Ribbon Honor Flight, which included all military branches, mostly combat veterans.
Read more at Stripes.com