Honor Flight of Idaho 2013-A True Honor – Part 3 of 4
By Paul Donovan, Veteran, Heart ‘n Home Volunteer
After arriving at the Korean War Memorial, we were greeted by the ghostly spectacle of soldiers in movement to “somewhere.” The wall to the side of this spectacle had engraved images of real soldiers, taken from real photographs taken
at the time, embedded in the polished granite wall. It truly is an image that I will not soon forget.
We the headed over, “on foot,” to the Lincoln Memorial where we viewed Mr. Lincoln watching eternally over the Washington Mall. As our time was pressing, we moved on to the Vietnam Memorial, or “The Wall”, where some 68,000 names are engraved on it. I was again awestruck at how many Americans we’ve lost in so many wars fighting for freedom. Soldiers have told me over and over for the past 37 years, “I didn’t fight for my country, I didn’t fight for my flag, and I didn’t fight for my people. I fought for the guy next to me in the foxhole. I figured that was all I could handle.” I’ve said the same thing myself many times. Truer words were never spoken.
We drove by the White House and our nation’s capital, the Ford Theater, where President Lincoln was assassinated and the Peterson Home across the street where Mr. Lincoln was brought for aid. “Big Mike”, our illustrious and extremely knowledgeable tour guide, filled us in on every detail as we pass by many, many historical sites going down Pennsylvania Avenue and crossing Constitution Boulevard.
We drove by the Pentagon and saw first-hand, the damage done by Flight 93. It is easily discernible because the lighter, unweathered color of the stone is seen where the damage was done and then superbly replaced. Behind the then damaged area is a chapel. I surmise that is in reverence to all those that lost their lives on that fateful day. We also saw the Air Force Memorial, which is new as of 2006. The steel spires reached 90 feet into the sky! Our tour guide, “big Mike,” explained to us that had it been there during 9/11, the plane would have struck the tall spires on the way to the Pentagon and things might have been a bit different.
Next stop was the Iwo Jima monument. Some of the Veterans glared in amazement from a distance, and others, like Don, the Marine, went right up to the base of the memorial and touched it. Being an old Navy Corpsman stationed with the Marines, I asked Don for the honor of having my picture taken with him and he graciously obliged me. “Semper Fi!”