By: Korean War Veterans Association
The second weekend of September, five veterans from Korean War Veterans Association Chapter 329 spent the weekend in Washington D.C. visiting the war memorials constructed in their honor. The trip was host by Honor Flight Southern Nevada.
Chapter 329 members; Commander Chuck Johnson, U.S. Army, Korean and Vietnam Wars 1950-1968, Treasurer Fidel Diaz, U.S. Army, Korean War 2950-1951, Secretary Hank Sawicki, U.S. Army, Korean War 1951-1953, John Falzarano, U.S. Army, Korean War 1952-1954 and Pastor Henry Grimes, U.S. Army, Korean War 1951-1953 were honored guests of Honor Flight Southern Nevada.
Upon arriving at Baltimore-Washington International Airport the veterans were greeted by uniformed military, police officers, fireman, bagpipers and local supporters. While walking through the airport a spontaneous group of passengers and employees began to applaud and cheer as they walked through the terminal. The group received a police escort to all venues and destinations.
Highlights of the tour of Washington included visits to the World War II Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery where they witnessed the Changing of the Guard and Wreath Laying. The tour Also included visits to the Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial, more commonly known as the Iwo Jima Memorial and the U.S. Navy Plaza Memorial. The bus tour drove by several other memorials and monuments along with the Coast Guard Memorial and Nurses Memorial.
On the final day, the Honor Flight Southern Nevada veterans returned to McCarran International Airport Las Vegas to a crowd of several 100’s of family friends, and supporters cheering and holding flags and signs thanking them for their service. The arrival was covered by 3 local television stations, local print and digital media. The Honor Flight “Welcome Home” ceremony included a parade lead by a military color guard, a group of Scottish Bagpipers, cheering boy scouts, girl scouts, families, friends, policer officers, fireman and uniformed military saluting and many others.
Four chapter honorees, Commander Johnson, Fidel Diaz, Hank Sawicki and John Falzarano, were selected to present a memorial wreath at the Korean War Veterans Memorial. At the World War II Memorial, four Southern Nevada veterans in wheel chairs placed a memorial wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arlington National Cemetery. The veterans felt it was a “great honor” to be selected for such a solemn and reflective nation ritual.
The final Portion of the trip “mail call,” in which, each honored veteran received personal letters and cards from family, friends, active military, scouts and school children related their appreciation for their service and sacrifice each had made in WWII and the Korean War. The honorees received a congressional certificate from the U.S. Senator Dean Heller. Chapter 329 members made many new friends, enjoyed the comradery with their fellow veterans, paid their respects to the fallen at Arlington National Cemetery, and were moved by all the appreciation and thanks they received from Americans on both coasts. Several said the police escort through downtown Washington was an awesome experience.