Central Nebraska veterans head to Washington for Dawson County Hero Flight

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Decades after the war, Oren Vollmer says the tragedies and memories of Vietnam are inescapable.

Central Nebraska veterans honor and remember their fellow service members at the National Vietnam War Memorial. (Source: Gray DC)

“It’s always a little emotional, but it’s something we’ve learned to live with," he said.

On a sunny day in Washington D.C, he recalls the moment he saw his platoon leader for the very last time.

“He went one way, and I went the other,” said Vollmer. "That was the toughest loss."

Lt. Richard Sheppard’s name is now listed on the Vietnam War Memorial, alongside thousands. It's a reminder of their sacrifices, etched in stone.

Vollmer is one of 25 members of the Dawson County Hero Flight. They traveled to Washington this week to tour the memorials and monuments.

Dan Tinlin is a Korean War-era veteran. He was a medic, stationed in the states during the war.

“I got to see a lot of wounded soldiers coming back over," said Tinlin. "I’m glad it wasn’t me, but I appreciate what they did.”

As the trip comes to an end, Tinlin says he is leaving with new memories and experiences he’ll never forget.

As for Vollmer, he’s headed home with his own piece of personal history: A paper rubbing of his Platoon leader’s name.

The veterans are also visiting the World War II Memorial and the Arlington National Cemetery. They will return home, Saturday afternoon.

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