GREENVILLE - For 15 area Korean War veterans, a trip on an Old Glory Honor Flight was well worth the wait.
"I thought it was awesome," said Larry Laubenstein, a veteran from Pulaski.
"It brings back memories, but it sure is very nice and I hope a lot of the Korean veterans should go there and see it," said Dave Reabe, a veteran from Oshkosh.
On Thursday, the 17th honor flight out of Northeast Wisconsin took off from Outagamie County Regional Airport, but it was the first involving Korean War veterans. The previous flights were filled with service members from World War II.
Old Glory Honor Flights take war veterans to Washington D.C. for the day, free of charge.
"These Korean War vets feel that they are the forgotten veterans of the forgotten war, so we really need to make sure that they know that they are important in this country and that we want to get them out there too," said Lorraine Van Kampen, the vide president for Old Glory Honor Flight.
Sixty-nine World War II veterans were on this flight as well. But with fewer still around who haven't made the trip, the door is opening for more Korean War veterans. The trip involves seeing national monuments standing in their honor.
"It's heartwarming," said Reabe. "You can't explain it in words. It's really nice and I'm proud to be one of them."
The emotions followed the veterans back to Wisconsin as they were greeted with a surprise welcome home celebration.
"I got tears in the eyes because I never expected my kids to be here," said Henry Wilcox, a World War II veteran from Princeton.
It's a welcome home most veterans would agree beats the one they received decades ago.
"No celebration, no nothing," said Laubenstein. "Had no money in my pocket, they lost my records so I didn't get paid, so I had to hitchhike home, but this made up for it."
The next honor flight is scheduled for June.
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