From Sunday’s festive dinner and reception at Wausau’s Highland Community church to the early morning flight from Mosinee’s Central Wisconsin Airport and crossing the Arlington Bridge into Washington DC led by a police escort; Monday’s 23rd Never Forgotten Honor Flight was admittedly a flight never to be forgotten, according to many participating veterans and their guardians.
“To say my work with the organization is rewarding would be an incredible understatement. It’s hard to put into words. To see our veterans recognized, enjoy themselves and most of all, open up to their family members about their service is what it’s all about.”-‘Never Forgotten’ Co-Founder USMC Lt. Colonel (Ret.) James Campbell.
“My late wife Doreen found about the honor flight back in 2013 and the minute she mentioned it I was excited! It was something I wanted to be a part of from the start. I lost her this past September due to medical issues she had been suffering from for a while. Even though she is gone now, I know is watching over me. She shared my excitement about this trip right up until the end. I wish she could be here with me but I know she will be watching and smiling every step of the way.”-Tomahawk resident and Vietnam War veteran John Hering Jr.
“Oh man, I was not expecting that! (of being greeted by over 20 people of all ages at Dulles Intrernational Airport-Dulles, VA) “I don’t know what to say, ya know. It’s amazing! It’s so wonderful. I don’t know how to explain it. We just didn’t get that sort of thing when we came home back then. People weren’t very happy with us. I just did not expect that when I came off the plane.”-Merrill resident and Vietnam War veteran John Benzinger.
“Everything was great, I just can’t pick out anything in particular. I think what I liked the most of all, was all the folks who volunteered to make this happen. At the airports, the doctors and helpers on the plane, they are who really make this wonderful. It’s been a long day but it was worth it. I’ll never forget it.”-Tomahawk resident and WWII veteran John Friske
*Special thanks to the Merrill Foto News’ sister-newspaper; Stevens Point City Times and editor Brandi Makuski for her contribution of video footage from the honor flight’s return home reception Monday night at CWA-Mosinee.