Missouri veterans tour D.C. memorials to honor service - Part 2

Missouri veterans tour D.C. memorials to honor service - Part 2
Published: Nov. 10, 2012 at 8:15 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 11, 2012 at 1:00 AM CST
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Franklin County Honor Flight veterans traveled from St. Louis to Washington D.C.
Franklin County Honor Flight veterans traveled from St. Louis to Washington D.C.

Franklin County Honor Flight veterans traveled from St. Louis to Washington D.C. to see a memorials in their honor.

The first stop on the tour was the World War II Memorial.

"Very impressive," said World War II veteran Ross Mullen.

During the Honor Flight trip, was his first time to see his war's memorial.

"It was very interesting, I like the wreaths, different ones every column," said Mullen.

Mullen's guardian for the trip was his daughter, Martha Palmer.

"I'm just so glad my dad gets to come and see it," said Palmer.

She had seen the memorial before, but this time it was different.

"I'm happy to come spend the day with him, and see a part of his life I wasn't around for," said Palmer.

Mullen lined up next to his band of brothers at the World War II memorial to capture a picture of the veterans on the trip.

"A lot of these guys haven't opened up for a long time," said Palmer.

To these veterans, memorials like this, mean more than carved stone.

"It stirs up a few old memories, most of them good, and that's not a bad thing," said veteran Frank Piskos.

"It represents so many that have given their lives for this country and they also made it possible that we can talk without speaking a foreign language," said veteran Marion Webb.

"I was really impressed with that World War II Memorial, it's something to cry about really," said David Anderson.

Next, the veterans traveled across the Arlington Memorial Bridge, and headed to the Tomb of Unknowns.

"It really was impressive," said World War II veteran Doris Amison.

Even though the tone surrounding the changing of the guard was silent, Amison said her thoughts weren't.

"It certainly brings back memories because we lived it," said Amison.

Three generations of Amison's family served in the military.

"One way or another, somebody in our family was involved, if it wasn't daughter number one, it was daughter number two, or daughter number three," said Amison.

She shared another experience, the Honor Flight experience, with one of her daughters.

"Its' been incredible, it's been an emotional experience, looking, meeting the veterans and talking with them, and enjoying time with my mother," said Mary-Dale Amison.

But Amison said the times today, aren't the same as when her family served three generations ago.

"It was a time when the nation truly came together and everybody worked towards a common goal, and they all had a common vision, and nowadays unfortunately people are just stretched in so many directions," said Amison.

As the group saw places like the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, it all began to sink in just how special the day was.

"I've been up to Washington D.C. so many times on business, and never got to see a thing," said Anderson.

"The first time I came, you know the looks on their faces, the guys are so happy all the time, so it's a good time," said volunteer Jason Drezek.

"These individuals, and this organization is doing a great service for our veterans, and again it's just been an amazing experience for both my mother and I," said Amison.

We visited the Korean War Veterans Memorial, saw the Lincoln Memorial, and toured the Air Force Memorial.

"It's kind of fun to see how the guys react to their memorial," said Drezek.

Along the way, Americans thanked the veterans for their service. They even got red lipstick kissed on their cheek.

"They look at you and say thank you, and it's kind of humbling, humbling to us, we thought when we went into the service we did our duty, and we come home and that was kind of the end of it, we just merged ourselves back into society and went on," said Anderson. "Even though this has been a tiring day for all of us them guys will all be smiling and it's amazing."

"It's just been incredible, we've enjoyed our time today, it's been a whirlwind experience mind you, but well worth it," said Amison.

A whirlwind experience, that at this point, was only partially over. The veterans had a big surprise waiting on their flight home.

Look for Part 3 of the Honor Flight series on Heartland News.

You can see Part 1 here.

For more information on how you can join a Franklin County Honor Flight trip, as a veteran or volunteer, visit the organization's website here.

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