Today marks a special day on our calendar, as we honor and remember all who served bravely in the many military conflicts that our country has been involved in, especially those who lost their lives fighting for our freedom.
One of those brave individuals was my Uncle Bob. I am named after him. Bob was one of my dad’s younger brothers. Even though Bob recently had become a college graduate at the Milwaukee State Teachers College (now the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), Bob still went to Korea to help out in that conflict as a medic.
Just weeks before he was set to return home, Bob was killed.
Bob was one of over a million Americans who have died in the various wars the United States has been involved with since it’s inception.
Today we honor those brave people.
Which takes me to a story I want to share. A few weeks back, as I normally do quite often, I was chatting with former Green Bay Packers great Jerry Kramer.
We were talking about a story idea I had, when Jerry told me about some recent news that he was really excited about.
Jerry told me that he was invited to join the Never Forgotten Honor Flight.
The organization is based in Wausau, Wisconsin and it serves veterans in the northern region of Wisconsin. What they do is fly veterans who served during World War II, the Korean War or the Vietnam eras to Washington, D.C. to visit the memorials built in their honor.
Obviously Kramer was honored to receive such an invitation.
“That was kind of a neat call, for them to ask me to join them,” Kramer said. “It was such a honor to get that invitation. It should be an interesting time and I look forward to the trip. I’m kind of excited about it.
“I spoke to a veteran’s group here in Boise, and I never really had much of a chance to thank people like that. I always wanted to, and every once in awhile you can run into a guy and you can say thanks. But it’s pretty damn rare. You never get much of a chance to express your feelings to these brave folks.
“I had a very nice dinner with these guys and they presented me with a sword and a nice piece of memorabilia. I had a really good time there and I felt good about it. I had some nice things to say about their service and their attitude. I told them how much I appreciated them and that I felt better of what they had done probably more so than they did.
“It was a nice evening and it was nice being able to show my appreciation.”
On May 22nd, Jerry and his daughter Alicia traveled with the veterans to Washington on the Never Forgotten Honor Flight.
Once in the nation’s capital, the itinerary was quite extensive. This was the schedule:
9:30 AM: Arrive at Reagan National Airport
10:30 AM: Depart Reagan in Motor Coach
10:45 AM: Arrive at Korean, Vietnam and Lincoln Memorials
1:00 PM: Depart Memorials
1:00-1:25 PM: Bus tour to see the Capital, Navy Memorial and the White House (lunch)
1:25 PM: Arrive World War II Memorial
2:35 PM: Depart World War II Memorial
2:45-3:30 PM: FDR Memorial
3:45 PM: Arrive Iwo Jima Memorial
4:20 PM: Depart Iwo Jima Memorial (snack bars)
4:30 PM: Arrive Arlington National Cemetery
5:00 PM: Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
5:40 PM: Depart Arlington National Cemetery
5:55 PM: Arrive Air Force Memorial and drive by Pentagon and 9-11 Memorial (dinner)
7:10 PM Depart Memorial
7: 25 PM: Arrive Reagan National Airport
8:45 PM: Depart Reagan National Airport
Wow. That is quite a schedule and a number of great sites to see and view. I’m sure there were many emotional moments thinking back on those brave souls who died for their country.
Kramer talked about how humbling it was to be part of this group.
“It’s hard to digest and hard to understand all at one time,” Kramer said. “It’s been overwhelming to be in the midst of so many great people.”