Heavy hearts as South Plains veterans visit Korean, Vietnam War memorials

Life-changing trip for South Plains Honor Flight veterans

WASHINGTON, DC (KCBD) - Day two of the South Plains Honor Flight flew by for our veterans, as we loaded the bus and stepped off at the Arlington National Cemetery for the changing of the guard.

Moments after the change of the guard, four of the veterans laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

“You couldn’t imagine it until you looked on it yourself with the other three gentlemen that were with me,” Vietnam veteran Thomas J. Patterson said. “You feel something, something you couldn’t even imagine.”

Following that, they made three stops, starting with the Women in Military Service for America Memorial, the Marines Corps War Memorial, and then the National Air and Space Museum.

From there, we made our way back to Washington DC’s downtown for a very emotional part of our tour, starting with the Korean War Memorial.

“It was a real honor to be here today,” Korean War Veteran Everett Douglas said. “To be able to serve in the Army and with the Koreans. Also, to be here when they put the wreath up.”

Moments later, the entire group sang “God Bless America,” part of an annual tradition for the trip, a truly touching moment for our veterans in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

But, what happened next at the Vietnam Memorial was one of the most powerful moments of the entire trip.

“I got friends there, but that was someone, just some boy,” Vietnam Veteran Joe Laughlin said. “I feel guilty like a lot of guys. I survived, and they didn’t. I would love for them to be here, I tell you what.”

“It’s overwhelming,” Harold Lane said. “Overwhelming. That’s what it is like. I am proud to be an American. It’s a great place to live.”

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