Shutdown Didn’t Stop Honor Flights For Arkansas Vets
The government shutdown almost jeopardized veterans visit to several National memorials in Washington D.C. However, a group of 78 Arkansas veterans weren’t cancelling their trip.
Days before their flight, the National Park Service decided to open the gates for veterans. The Arkansas vets were part of an Honor Flight.
Julian Dyrhood, 94, is a WWII and Korean War veteran. He was in the medical corps. He got back from his trip Sunday (Oct. 6). It was a one day trip with all expenses paid.
Dyrhood looked through a book that the honor flight organizers gave him. It had images of the WWII Memorial. His face lit up as he turned the pages alongside his son Martin Dyrhood.
“Oh, I was thrilled to death to see that,” Dyrhood said. “It’s awfully big but it sure does represent what they wanted it for.”
Dyrhood was one of the 78 Arkansas WWII vets that visited three national memorials despite the government shutdown. They visited the Korean War Memorial, the Vietnam War Memorial and the World War II. They also toured Washington D.C.
“It was really just exciting,” Dyrhood said.
Dyrhood’s son, Martin, was his guardian during the trip. Martin said hundreds of people welcomed the vets.
“The reception was something, the day was just busy, just one stop after another, a lot of fresh air, very tiring but very good,” Martin said.
Martin said he loved the experience he shared with his dad.
“Just the awe in his face of seeing the WWII Memorial, the gravity of all of it, the men, the price they paid and how many we left behind,” Martin said.
Martin said he also enjoyed the the visit to the historical place.
“It was pretty solemn just to look at and it’s just amazing,” Martin said.
Dyrhood said everyone made him feel special.
“Almost too much because there were so many there that have done so much more than I did. I’m here and a lot aren’t,” Dyrhood said.
Dyrhood’s family welcomed him at the Little Rock Airport. They said they’re very proud of him.
“It’s one I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” Dyrhood said. “It was that great.”
According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, about 600 WII veterans die each day and the Honor Flight Network helps these heroes from all over the country see the National Memorials in person.