Missouri veterans honored in travel to Washington D.C. - Part 1
The Franklin County Honor Flight group takes veterans to Washington D.C. to honor their service.
Heartland News Reporter Christy Millweard joined the vets on the latest trip.
"They look like a great bunch of guys to me," said Richard Hatfield, a World War II veteran.
Hatfield said he's been waiting for this trip for a long time.
"I'm ready to go," said Hatfield.
In August, Hatfield talked of his military career.
"That's a picture of my company just prior to going to Okinawa," said Hatfield.
"He eats, lives and breathes Marine Corps," said Hatfield's Son-in-law Mike Wolff.
Hatfield said he wasn't' scared of the war, he was scared of missing it.
"My biggest concern at the time was that the war would be over before I would even get into it," said Hatfield.
Hatfield looks through pictures, medals, and symbols of the past.
"I don't know what all I've got in here," said Hatfield, as he looks into a box of mementos and memories.
But those memories, are difficult.
"His hands are like this, and he had a grenade under each armpit, and when he got up to us he's raise his arms, the grenades would fall out the pins had been pulled," said Hatfield, as he recalls a story from his time overseas.
Wolff said Hatfield rarely talks about it.
"There aren't many of us left, there aren't too many of us, but when we run into them, we exchange stories," said Hatfield.
That's what he said he was looking forward to out of this journey, sharing stories with Veterans like him.
Thirty-two men and women traveled together, understanding what each has gone through.
"Got up this morning 10 minutes before the alarm went off at 2 o'clock," said Ray Parker, a Naval veteran. "So I was very happy to be able to be with this group."
"I'm excited about it, I'm looking forward to seeing the memorial, I'm told it's very beautiful," said Doris Amison, a World War II veteran, and only female veteran on the trip.
Amison shares serving her country with three generations of her family, including her daughters. She share's the Honor Flight, with one of her daughters.
"It was just a way to share with her, her experiences and to have a joint experience," said Mary-Dale Amison.
Each veteran, like Amison had a guardian accompany them on the trip, to ensure a safe travel.
"I'm looking forward to the flight going both ways as we talk to somebody where they were, what they did," said Parker.
The early start had some resting, while others made it their mission to capture and share memories.
"It's about time I come and see it, and I won't forget it," said Veteran Henry Dahms Sr.
"It's overwhelming the experience me to go with him because I'm proud of him," said Dahms' son, Henry Dahms Jr.
The veterans said they wanted positive memories of the memorials, to help offset the haunting memories from before.
"I'd like to see it because I served in the war, World War II, and I'd like to see it because I never saw it before," said Danny Rider.
"My platoon leader got killed right beside me," said Leeman McCord, a veteran and Purple Heart recipient.
The Honor Flight heroes were welcomed by local Baltimore heroes, clapping, and thanking them for their service.
"When we came into the lobby, the place was just full of people, thanking us for our service, clapping, and carrying on," said veteran James Hewitt.
"That was a really great welcome," said Hatfield.
Veterans like Hatfield didn't shoot with guns or bullets, they shot with cameras.
"It's amazing, I can't hardly express my gratitude," said Hatfield.
Some of the veterans still wear their dog tags. But on this trip, the Honor Flight gave them new identification. The veterans each had a name tag displaying their name and information on their time in service.
"We have the veterans, and they all have name tags, which is an excellent ice breaker, so that we can find out who they are and what they've done in World War II," said veteran Marion Webb.
The day was long, and the travel far, but at this point, the journey had only just begun.
Look for part 2 of the Honor Flight on Heartland News.
For information on how you can go on an Honor Flight - as a veteran, or a volunteer - visiting the organization's website here.
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