Veterans Honor Flight Exhibit Opens, Shows Impact of Trip

MOORHEAD, Minn. — Roughly 1,100 veterans have traveled to Washington, D.C. on the Veterans Honor Flight of North Dakota and Minnesota over the last 11 years.

As another way to say thank you to those who gave so much and to show how much they enjoyed seeing monuments in their honor, the Honor Flight opens an exhibit in Moorhead.

Dean Fatland was so traumatized by what he saw while fighting on the frontlines during the Korean War, that he started experiencing PTSD when he got home.

“I’d wake up at night. I was never one to scream but I’d wake up crying, shaking, scared,” Fatland said.

Fatland says telling the stories of what happened during his time in North Korea helps him to heal.

But it was the Veterans Honor Flight of ND/MN he went on in 2015 that really made an impact on him.

“We were finally recognized. It’s hard to think of what you went through and then you lost your buddies and then they come back and say it’s police action,” Fatland said.

Some veterans were so impacted by the trip that they can still remember every detail.

“I still remember getting off the bus and at the Iwo Jima Memorial which they raised the flag for on Mount Suribachi. That day there was a bit of wind and the flag was ruffling in the breeze. It was unbelievable,” said Eddie Bernhardson, who went on the 2016 Honor Flight.

That feeling is seen in the hundreds of smiles on the wall at a new Veterans Honor Flight exhibit at the Hjemkomst Center, which will be open through November.

“We’re just showcasing how it started and all the wonderful veterans that have gone on the flight,” said Lori Ishaug, vice president of the Veterans Honor Flight of ND/MN.

Because for these volunteers who put in hours of fundraising, it’s important to show the kind of impact the trip can have on those veterans in the Fargo–Moorhead community who fought for America during some of its toughest times.

“What we do on our weekends and on our nights a lot of the time is we go and we sell our t–shirts, our coffee cups and raise money. So, when the veteran gets to go, they don’t pay a penny. All veterans deserve to go. If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be here,” Ishaug said.

The Honor Flight has to raise more than $151,000 for each of the flights they go on.

The organization puts on two a year, one in the spring and one in the fall. The next one will be September 30th to October 1st.

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