WASHINGTON, D.C. (ABC4) – It was a trip of reunions and respect for 73 Korean and Vietnam war veterans from Utah, Wyoming, and Idaho who traveled on Utah Honor Flight to the nation’s capital.
“It brings me to tears, I can’t put words to it,” said Gene Sterr, who served in the Air Force. “I can’t put words to the recognition we’re finally getting.”
In a two-day trip last week, the veterans visited memorials for World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam War. Each memorial, with decades of history, carried personal significance for the veterans.
For some, it was significance from the past.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the memorial for my father,” said Larry Petersen, who served in the Army. “He was a World War II veteran.”
Some memorials hold personal significance in the present, especially for veterans like Jim Maughan.
At the Vietnam War Memorial, Maughan’s family surprised him. He met his 4-year-old granddaughter for the first time.
“I feel blessed,” Maughan said. “It’s wonderful. I want to take her home with me.”
On Wednesday night, the veterans landed in the Provo airport to a surprise homecoming.
Families, friends, ROTC cadets, and a live band lined the walkways to give the veterans a reunion they say they never got when they first came home.
“It’s very special,” Petersen said. “You can’t say anything more than just that. It was very very special.”