Military Veterans Overwhelmed By Support From Washington D.C. Trip

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DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA (KFSM) -- A whirlwind trip to the East Coast gave military veterans the opportunity to see memorials that have been built for wars they fought in.

"It's really a well-thought-out monument, and I think everybody should see it," World War II veteran Ray Randall said. "It's just wonderful."

Seventy-four veterans, with members from each branch of the military, left Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport on Wednesday morning (April 20), and headed to Washington DC.

Many of the men and women had never been to the nation's capital, and excitement had already spread across their faces before the flight even landed.

"It's pretty awesome stuff," Korean War veteran Bruce Mumford said. "I haven't been around this many veterans since the service."

Veterans from World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam War made up the group. They were greeted at the airport with live music upon arrival, and Arkansas lawmakers U.S. SenatorJohn Boozman and Congressman Steve Womack met up with the group hours later.

Age was hardly a factor in holding back the military veterans from seeing as much as they could. Looking forward to the trip for weeks, many of them spoke of how much they felt honored at each stop.

"Being treated with respect is very much appreciated," Vietnam War veteran Bill Fant said. "Just for somebody to say thank you makes you feel good."

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall captured the attention of the veterans.

Tears were shed. Memories were revisited. Many stood in silence, choked up, as they scanned across the thousands of names, thinking of fellow military heroes, whose lives preceded theirs.

Perhaps the climax of the trip was visiting Arlington National Cemetery and witnessing the changing of the guard.

"You never forget what you went through," Fant said. "It's just a wonderful experience."

The experience would only continue to surprise the 74 veterans on their return flight home.

After the plane departed Washington DC, O&A Honor Flight volunteers distributed packets, filled with handwritten letters and drawings from school children for each veteran.

Smiles spread across the faces of each veteran as they read the personal notes of thanks, written by kids not yet old enough to comprehend the meaning of military service, but know what it means to sacrifice.

A long day ended back at XNA, as the flight landed at 10 p.m. However, the time of the day did not hold back hundreds of Arkansas from showing their support of the group of veterans.

Waiting for the military heroes to descend an escalator in the lobby were more than 500 supporters, along with volunteer groups, greeting the 74 veterans and their guardians, who accompanied them on the trip.

As the American flags waved through the air, that same symbol for which they fought to protect, the veterans raised their hands and blew kisses to the crowd.

"It's overwhelming," Randall said about the trip. "It just overwhelms you."

2 comments

  • Hoa Truong

    LONG TAN BATTLE, THE HUMAN WAVE’S TACTIC DISASTER.
    HOA MINH TRUONG.
    ( an ex-lieut of ARVN)
    In Vietnam war, Vietcong applied the tactics are such as circle post then attack the reinforce ( công đồn đả viện), previous shell then later attack ( tiền pháo hậu xung), the barricade spot; each one had 3 guerrillas: weapon used 2 AK and 1 B40 ( đóng chốt), three barricades formed by the Chain ( kiềng) with a common weapon as 12,7 mm.
    Therefore, the human wave tatic ( chiến thuật biển người) could apply when the Vietcong wanted to extract a post or fire base, mostly the numerous troopers would be used at least more than 5 times of the defense force.
    The human wave tactic devised by Mao Ste Tung in the Korea War, he used the huge numerous troopers to cover the weapon lacks. Mao chairman who totally fell the inhumane stactic with a million People’s liberation Army troopers killed, inclding his elder son. In Vietnam war, Vietcong applied the human wave tactic, despite they barbecued 10,000 troopers in Dien Bien Phu’s battle, exlusive ten thousand lives of the battle field’ s laborer, instead French just lost 1,000.
    The Long Tan battle applied as the same tactic, on August 18, 1966, Vietcong gathered from 1,500 to 2,500 troopers of regiment 275 ( North communist) and provincial mobile battalion D445 ( regional force), they attacked D company of 6th battalion, Royal Australian Regiment ( 6RAR).
    The battle field was not equal the numerous troop between both sides, therefore the D company fought bravely, despite its company just had 108 men, then the human wave tactic crushed down badly. Vietcong laid 245 bodies, not including the casualty and injure troopers to be brought by their comrade, the D compay lost 18 men, but it was the ever victory of Australian Royal Army from the most conflicts marked before.
    However, after Long Tan battle, Vietcong propagated the fake victory to the rural people, mostly the peasant. However behind the line, Vietcong couldn’t hide the pain with their comrade, they named the Australian army as a nickname ÚC ĐẠI HẠI that means Australian causes the big damages, instead the Vietnamese call the Australian as ÚC ĐẠI LỢI that means Australia great benefit.
    Although the Vietnam war was over from April 30, 1975, but the sounds are still remaining into the society, actually, annually, the date of 18 August coming. Vietnam war has been controverying by the toxic of pro-communist propaganda hidden under the title the peace movement, it has effected into the most Vietnam veteran and family in US, Australia, New Zealand.
    Remember, in 1959, there was not any allies military unit in South Vietnam, but on May 1959, Hồ Chí Minh pointed Major General Bùi Xuân Đăng who gthered more than 100,000 laborers built Ho Chi Minh Trails, then they also lauched the propaganda:” fighing against the imperial American”. After Ho Chi Minh trails set, lieutenant General Đồng Sĩ Nguyên contiuned to upgrade the road linking three nations Vietnam-Laos-Cambodia.
    The human wave tactic disastered again in Vietnam war, Vietcong wasted 1,500,000 lives, now they are still facing more than 300,000 missing in the forest, mostly at the central Vietnam, therefore they have not find the comrades, but the Hanoi regime keens to find the US, Australia soldiers missing in action for money.
    Whoever endorsed Vietcong in Vietnam war, they must know the inhuman regime in Hanoi, likely a gang takes control your house, after 1975, a high ranking cadre, Mr. Nguyễn Hộ, 56 years member, he told to his comrades at Saigon:” their houses, we occupy-Their wives, we take and their children, we enslave”. There is just only Ho Chi Minh, he killed 1,700,000 people that bases on the Polska media of Poland released the list of 13 most massacres in 20th century.
    Vietcong’s lie propaganda failed, after winning the war on April 30, 1975, Mr. Lê Duẫn, General Secretary of Vietnam Communist party confirmed:” we fought against the American Empire for great masters Soviet Union and China”, it is the trong message to whose joined the anti-war movement in Vietnam war’s period.
    Hoa Minh Truong.
    ( Author of 5 books)

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