Posts tagged WWII
Posts tagged WWII
Vets insisted they weren’t heroes, but they got royal treatment on Hero Flight
Michael Chartraw of Lincoln photographs his dad Eugene of Ansley Friday morning at the World War II Memorial.
What is your impression of the World War II Memorial?
“There is so much truth in it. Whoever engineered it sure knew a lot about it. It just touches everybody.” - Gerald Minnick, Inavale
Korea War veteran Merlyn Lewis of Litchfield, right, shares a story Thursday afternoon with his daughter Michelle Stover of Kearney while visiting the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C., as part of the Buffalo County Hero Flight
Kearney Navy veterans Roland Nyquist, top photo in blue shirt, and Willard Phillips spent time during Thursday’s World War II Memorial visit telling their stories to Washington, D.C., tourists near the “Pacific” entrance to the memorial.
This morning showed Nebraska ingenuity in action. We had wheelchairs that were on loan from a D.C. business that had gone out of business. However, eight of the 10 came without foot rests. So Kevin Cooksley of Berwyn, Janna Pierce of Miller and escort Anna Haynes of Martin, S.D., sat in our hotel lobby, took duct tape and fashioned slings on the wheelchairs.
I got to try one out, too. We got off the bus to see the Vietnam, Korean and Lincoln memorials. Gayle Woodruff was right behind me in line with a wheelchair. I kidded that he should give me a ride. And he did. He’s a good driver.
Between the Vietnam and Korean memorials, I caught a glimpse of Abe seated in his chair. This is my second trip to D.C. The first time, my camera fell off a security conveyor belt and didn’t work the whole rest of the trip. Including on our night trip to the Lincoln Memorial. So that trip ended with no pictures of President Lincoln. The closest I got this time was a photo of him in the shade. But I know he’s there.
McDonald’s came up again today. Lori and I indulged in strawberry lemonades from the McDonald’s stand at the Air and Space Museum. We had deadlines for the weekend. Sweat was running down my back at the time, and strawberry lemonade hit the spot.
Watching the veterans moved to tears at the World War II Memorial moved many of the rest of us to tears or close to it. What a special time for all of them. How lucky for the rest of us to witness it.
Tonight, the veterans ate very well again! Our hotel honored us with another banquet. Special guest was Col. Dan Caine from the U.S. Air Force, who was one man in charge during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. As he told his story, he thanked the veterans, saying they served as examples for current military personnel.
Roland Nyquist of Kearney ended the evening by leading us in “God Bless America.” Emotional again.
Tomorrow will be breakfast and then travel home.
Dale Hongsermeier of Grand Island shows off the scar that’s left from a bullet that struck him in World War II.
Hongsermeier was drafted Aug. 31, 1944. On April 4, 1945, as he and his fellow soldiers were crossing the Neckar River in Germany, they encountered some Germans at the top of the next hill.
“They opened fire on us and we couldn’t get away,” Hongsermeier said.
A bullet hit Hongsermeier’s gun, ricocheted and struck him in his right upper arm. Surgery at a field hospital removed the bullet. He was sent to Paris to recooperate and was discharged Aug. 30, 1945, the day before the one-year anniversary of his draft date.
He returned home to the Grand Island area and started farming. His bullet sits in a glass case along with other mementos from his service time.
Mary Scamehorn of Kearney, a Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service, was the center of attention at the Women in Military Service memorial.
An attendant found Scamehorn in a database of servicewomen, member 80083. Scamehorn’s quote in her database profile was,
“My military experience was exciting and helped to prepare me for my future.”
Scamehorn said the military helped her work with people. She became a teacher after her Navy service.
“It led me to a career.”
One of her souvenirs was a printout of her biography and a photograph of the outside of the women’s memorial.
No Marines came on the Hero Flight, but the Iwo Jima Memorial for Marines had special meaning for Leslie McCormick of Brewster. One of his best friends, Walt Patterson, served in Iwo Jima. The two became acquainted after their service time. They lived near each other when McCormick was working on a ranch.
Patterson told McCormick about the Iwo Jima memorial, but Patterson died before he had a chance to visit it.
“It kind of tore me up” to see the monument, McCormick said. “…It was something I wanted to do for him. It made me feel good.”