Midwest Honor Flight thanks heroes with trip to Washington, DC
South Dakota veterans are on their way home from Washington Tuesday night after a special day on the Midwest Honor Flight. The volunteers who joined them say it's the least they can do for those who served the nation. Our Washington Correspondent Alana Austin catches up with the crew from the Korean War Veterans memorial.
“It’s awesome to see all of the memorials and the statues," said Alvin Kay, a U.S. Army veteran from Iowa.
“Korean memorial I think is probably my favorite so far," said Lloyd Van Genderen, a South Dakota Army veteran.
These veterans here from South Dakota to Iowa and Minnesota – are united in their love of country.
“This one I think was taken when I was first in the service," said Oscar Krogstad, a veteran as he showed pictures from his time in the military.
Krogstad, a Korean war veteran, says he got married on the day the conflict started. His service to family and the nation, unwavering. As volunteers try to say thank you to these American heroes, Krogstad is the one saying he’s grateful to be here.
“This is great. I never expected it to be this great and this tour is fantastic. It couldn’t be any better," said Krogstad.
South Dakota Rep. Kristi Noem (R) met up with the veterans at the Korean war memorial.
“They gave incredible sacrifices for our country, so for me to be here, to greet them, to thank them for their service, that’s just a really special moment," said Noem.
With the help of donors and volunteers, this experience - for many veterans in their Golden Years - is made possible.
“Freedom isn’t free. These guys paid a heavy toll and a heavy price and it’s just great they’re able to honor them towards the end of their life," said volunteer Troy Genderen, who came with his father and nephew on the trip.
“That’s really what this day is about - it’s thanking them...it’s probably the smallest token of the American people’s appreciation that we can give to them for the sacrifices that they and their families made in service to our country and those around the world," said Aaron Van Beek, President and Director of the Midwest Honor Flight.
And after a busy day, the Midwest Honor Flight heads back home. They hope to take more veterans back here to the nation’s capital in May.