10th Mid-Michigan Honor Flight Gives Veterans the Thanks Many Haven’t Gotten

It was hero’s welcome in Traverse City Wednesday night for the 60 plus veterans and guardians who returned home from the 10th Mid-Michigan Honor Flight.

Those veterans awarded the life changing opportunity to travel to our nation’s capital and get a firsthand look at the memorials built in their honor.

For many it was their first time.

“I’m tearing up a little, it’s quite a memorial.”

At the Vietnam Wall, time stands still.

More than 58,000 names of fallen sons and daughters are etched in the black granite.

“A lot of soldiers most of them I didn’t know, but I knew the nine that were with me, one of my good friends is up there,” Charlie Creed III, said.

Pointing his phone towards the top of the wall, Gladwin veteran Charlie Creed takes a picture.

It’s the name of one of his best friends.

“He was in my squad, yes he was,” Creed, explained.

Earl Thrushman knows three of the name, though it’s still hard for him to talk about.

“I don’t want to do that, I’ll bust out bawling. It’s going to bring me to tears, there’s no doubt it my mind,” Thrushman, said.

For these two Vietnam vets this is an undeniably emotional visit.

“It’s very precious to me,” Creed, said.

Seeing this memorial up close and the respect they now get is a stark change from when they returned home more than 40 years ago.

“I came home in 1970 from Vietnam after serving 18 months over there, people didn’t want to talk to you, people didn’t think you were a good person I guess,” Creed, explained.

“Or getting spit on, I can remember my time,” Thrushman, added.

For many, this experience on the honor flight is the first time in their life they’ve been treated with respect for their sacrifices.

“What a reception we got leaving Traverse City and coming [to Washington D.C.,] and a beautiful reception here,” Creed, said.

“I was dumbfounded, and I walked in the door I guess I was the last one and everybody stood up and cheered it was an overwhelmingly good feeling,” Thrushman, added.

A feeling brought on by sharing this experience with others who have served so selflessly.

“I’ve made friends with quite a few in the last day and a half, I’m getting names and numbers and plan to stay in touch,” Creed, explained.

“We all just went through so many changes and see so many different things, its mind boggling but it’s coming together,” Thrushman, explained.

Together they are forever changed, knowing the respect they are shown only continues to grow.

“It’s fantastic because so many of us were forgotten. I just hope the American public understands why we are here and it’s one hell of an honor,” Creed, added.

“God bless America,” Thrushman, added.