WASHINGTON D.C. (SPECTRUM NEWS)—The 55th Stars and Stripes Honor Flight took hundreds of Wisconsin veterans to Washington D.C.
It was a whirlwind of a day for World War II, Vietnam, and Korean War veterans. Nearly 250 Wisconsin veterans boarded a flight of honor. It’s a privilege only those who made the ultimate sacrifice can experience
It also serves as a welcome home for men and women who stood tall and proud while serving the United States of America.
"It brings back a lot of memories of what-ifs and so forth," World War II Veteran, Eugene Crossot said.
The group traveled with their guardians from Milwaukee to Washington D.C.
It served as a small thanks for a giant sacrifice.
"I went to my mother and asked her... I was 18 and I said do you mind if I join the army and she said no, if you want to do it, so I did," World War II Veteran, Edith Silverstein said.
They were able to walk through every monument, taking in the glory as a reminder and a thank you for their service.
Veterans, Edith Silverstein, Eugene Crossot, and Julius Garber have a few things in common.
They all served in World War II, two of them are 96-years-old, and they all live in the same senior living facility, Ovation Chi Point in Milwaukee.
"They can’t believe that people are showering them with so much support today. They are totally surprised by it and we are humbled by the stories that they tell us and the sacrifices that they made. The dedication that they still have today to serving in the military so many years ago," Clinical Director at Ovation Chi Point, Cheryl Buckman said.
Julius Garber comes with a heck of a story.
"I ended up Julius Garber missing in action," Garber said.
He still holds onto the very telegram sent to his parents saying he was missing. Another telegram saying he was severely injured and another that told his parents he was a prisoner of war.
"Your son Julius Garber is a prisoner of war of the German government," Garber said.
He says it’s a memory he will always hold onto, like the piece of shrapnel and his prisoner of war tag he keeps in his jacket.
The stories told by these veterans left a mark on those with an open ear during this emotional day.
"It's emotional for me, its emotion it’s good to see all the people from different branches of service," Crossot said.
They took the time to remember those that they lost.
"Everyone I know has died. All my relatives and friends and I think a lot about them," Garber said.
Throughout the day the stood side by side with other service members who know the pain, loss, and the battles they have all been through.
At the end of the day, everyone packed up to fly home. They received a letter of thanks on the plane and a beautiful, moving, well-deserved welcome home once touching down in Milwaukee.
The Stars and Stripes Honor Flight is a volunteer-based organization. To find out more about how you can donate click HERE.