Veterans Visit War Memorials On The Mid-Michigan Honor Flight

A day of appreciation and honor as veterans from Northern Michigan are embarking on a trip of a lifetime.

Altogether 61 veterans from World War Two, Korean War and the Vietnam War are on the Mid-Michigan Honor Flight.

9&10’s Caroline Powers joined the veterans as they saw memorials built in their honor.

The World War II memorial was the first stop of Thursday’s Mid-Michigan Honor Flight.

Most of the 61 veterans we made this journey with served during the Second World War.

And for some, this is their first time seeing this memorial built to honor their service.

Thursday is extra special for longtime friends Gus and Sparky.

Their friendship started more than 75 years ago after the war ended.

And now at 95 years old, they’re able to be here in remembrance and reflection.

The two friends say they are thankful to not only be here, but be here together.

“Best thing to ever happen to us,” says Gus Karsten, World War II veteran “Never had anything happen like this.”

“That’s Right. I agree with what he says here,” says Maynard Spaak, World War II veteran. “I’ve never been here. To be with each other over here, that’s just something else. Just something else.”

At the Korean and Vietnam War memorials, veterans continue to share stories and remember the ones they lost during their time at war.

Before stopping here the group was able to experience the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider.

One veteran, who served in the World War II, the Korean and Vietnam War, had the honor of laying a wreath on the plaza.

“It was a big honor. Exciting too,” says retired air force colonel, Donald Kirkpatrick. “Such a big crowd around and to be able to take the wreath up and put it on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Very few people have that honor.”

Veterans say it’s truly difficult to explain what this trip has meant to them.

But they are grateful for everyone who made it possible.

Northern Michigan’s News Leader will have more on the veteran’s trip tonight on 9&10 News at 11.

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