Eastern Iowa Honor Flight lands in D.C. after October postponement

Published: Nov. 2, 2022 at 5:26 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - A group of veterans from Eastern Iowa was in Washington this week visiting the memorials built in their honor. They received a hero’s welcome on the National Mall.

The Eastern Iowa Honor Flight was scheduled for October, but maintenance issues lead to the flight being canceled. Wednesday the group of 86 veterans arrived on time for a perfect fall, D.C. day. Reta Kerdus, a Korean War veteran savored the moment.

“I think in my growing up, there was such a pride in the service that the men that gave their lives,” said Kerdus.

Kerdus was a nurse during the conflict. She reflected on her service at the Korean War Memorial. On a wall honoring those who died, she found the name of a man she grew up with. Kerdus says the memorial shows how much Americans sacrificed.

“It makes me feel, I’m so insignificant to these people. I mean, they gave their lives. They really did…they did something,” said Kerdus.

This trip was “Mission 45″ for the Eastern Iowa Honor Flight - the 45th time veterans from the area have traveled in a group to see memorials erected in their honor.

“I can’t explain. I could spend months here and not see everything. I’ve never been to D.C.,” said Carole Daniel.

Daniel served in the Air Force during the Vietnam War. She was based in the U.S. during the war but thinks back on the negative reception some soldiers received when they returned home. Daniel says the memorials honoring her and her fellow service men and women show proper respect to veterans.

‘That’s why that wall is so important because the Vietnam veterans were just as important and gave as much as any other endeavor,” said Daniel.

It was just a day trip for the Eastern Iowa Honor Flight. They returned back to the state Wednesday night.