Theft of Honor: Celebrating Sacrifice Through Service


Honor Flight Columbus is in Washington, DC on the trip of a lifetime for the soldiers who served our country. NBC4 accompanied missions 109 and 110 in October. This story and the others that follow are meant to honor and celebrate Veterans and remember the sacrificial lives they made.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A pre-dawn wake-up call has come for 200 veterans to load on a mission from Columbus to the nation’s capital. The veterans were to make a memorial visit for a day of reflection and remembrance. Without this type of service, the men and women might never have been able to leave.

“We are not heroes,” said Vietnam veteran Gary Rodgers. “The guys who died are the heroes.”

They traveled from the Naval Museum directly to the WWII Memorial. It was dedicated in 2004 to the 419,000 Americans who died. Almost 60 years after the victory in Europe in 1945, also known as VE Day.

The Honor Flight began for WWII veterans to see their memorial as it took so long to create.

In those 60 years, many veterans never had the chance to see the memorial. On this trip, a WWII US Army corporal visited.

“Today has been a very happy day,” said Jessie Johnson, 97, a World War II veteran, from her wheelchair. 9

Many of these soldiers stalked across Korea and the jungles of Vietnam.

“Here is here, John Connor, Jr.,” said a guard as he gestured to a name on the Vietnam wall.

58,320 names are engraved on this wall.

“I can talk about it, then I can shut it down, that’s how I handle it,” Vietnamese vet Mike Love said. “It’s great to be here.

“Their names on this wall, if they believe in God they will live again,” Vietnamese veterinarian Pete Pierson said as he reflected as he gazed at the wall from his wheelchair.

So many soldiers explained that they had never heard: “Welcome home.

So when the planes landed at John Glenn International Airport 14 hours after the mission took off, 2,000 Americans were waiting.

Decades later, these veterans have welcomed their heroes into their homes.

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