Upper Peninsula Honor Flight Flies Korean and Vietnam Veterans to Washington to Visit War Memorials

Published: May. 3, 2023 at 7:21 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - 76 Vietnam and Korean war veterans from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula flew from Delta County Airport to the nation’s capital on Wednesday morning to visit the war memorials that were built in their honor.

The veterans made the trip to DC as part of the the Upper Peninsula Honor Flight’s 21st mission.

“I never dreamed of anything like this,” said Lou Shanahan, a Korean War Veteran from Marquette.

Many veterans like Vietnam veteran Rod Runion have long been waiting to come on this trip that this honor flight chapter makes twice a year.

“It is very special. I’ve been trying for six years to come here,” said Runion.

The veterans stopped by 10 memorials and Arlington National Cemetery. Each of them got a few minutes to reflect and see the memorials that stand in their honor.

“It’s amazing to see what freedom is all about, what the American people should be remembering all the wars we fought,” said Patrick LeClaire, a Vietnam Veteran from Escanaba.

The trip was LeClaire’s first time coming to Washington. He said seeing the memorials brings back a lot of memories including some tough ones and said it is important to have them here for every American to recognize the sacrifices him and others have made for the nation.

“Everybody fights a different war. And people got to realize that freedom isn’t free like they say,” said LeClaire.

Anyone interested in helping other Michigan veterans make the trip to Washington can come to the Upper Peninsula Honor Flight’s fundraiser dinner on May 20th at the Bessemer VFW Post 3673. It costs $15 per per person and begins at 5 p.m. Learn more by visiting the honor flight chapter’s Facebook page.