WASHINGTON, D.C. (ABC4) – In honor of Veteran’s Day, ABC4 is recognizing 73 veterans from Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming who went on an Honor Flight to visit memorials dedicated to their service in Washington D.C.
Over 60 of them served in the Vietnam war.
At the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, 580,267 names are listed on the wall. The monument recognizes those who died in the war.
The Honor Flight veterans brought paper and graphite to trace the names of their former comrades, so they could bring their friends home.
“The amount of people on this wall…very solemn,” said Daniel Maynard, who served in the Marine Corps. “This is on my bucket list.”
“As far as I know, I don’t have family up here, but it touches the hearts of everyone,” said Gene Sterr, an Air Force veteran.
The words on the wall and the tribute placed at the bottom ask visitors to remember the sacrifices veterans made.
“It should be a reminder to everyone that sacrifice has to be paid for freedom,” said U.S. Army veteran Greg Goddard. “How much blood is shed, how many families are affected by this wall.”
Many of these veterans served overseas during the Vietnam War. They say the reaction they received when they got back home wasn’t what they were expecting.
“I remember being in the airport in San Francisco and the ticket agents wouldn’t let us get on the planes,” Maynard said.
Sterr says he was called a “baby killer.”
“The veterans didn’t have a good time,” said Air Force veteran Roger Bredsguerd. “It wasn’t like the other war, where they were heroes.”
Now decades later in D.C., with a tribute from the Honor Guard and applause from those watching, they’re getting the respect they hoped for years ago.
“It brings me to tears,” Sterr said. “I can’t put words to the recognition we’re finally getting.”