La Crosse
34° F
Light Snow
Light Snow

Freedom Honor Flight veterans gather for reunion

Published On: Oct 27 2013 07:57:42 PM CDT   Updated On: Oct 27 2013 08:01:08 PM CDT
Freedom Honor Flight Reunion



Veterans who went on the Freedom Honor Flight in September gathered to share their memories on Sunday.

The Freedom Honor Flight organizers hosted the reunion at the La Crosse Center.

About 300 veterans and their friends and family came to the event to see a slideshow of all the pictures from the trip.

Organizers say they also opened the floor to vets to share stories about the flight or their time in the service.

They say it's a special time to see how important the trip is for so many of the veterans.

"This is kind of a closure thing for them, but they'll typically come here a month, month and a half after the flight and they'll say, 'Geez, dad or grandpa or grandma is more engaged now than he or she has been in years,' because they perk right up and suddenly they've got something to talk about and you put the nickle in and they talk for two hours about how they had the honor flight experience," said Freedom Honor Flight President Bill Hoel.

One of the Korean War veterans at the reunion said on the flight he felt appreciated and recognized for his service.

It's a feeling he says he's never had.

"Korea is known as the forgotten war, Vietnam unfortunately was acknowledged in a negative way. Korean War was, "Oh you were gone? Where were you?' There was no recognition, so this serves a very important ending," said Korean War veteran Irvin Yelle.

Freedom Honor flight organizers say they haven't set the official dates for the two honor flights in 2014.

But people are encouraged to contact them now if they know a veteran who has not been on a flight and would like to go.