88 Veterans Experience Day One of the Honor Flight: KVRR’s TJ Nelson is Live from Washington D.C.

These 87 men and one woman chosen for this flight served their country and this is just one more way to say "Thanks"

WASHINGTON D.C. — Eighty-eight veterans from North Dakota and Minnesota are in Washington, D.C. on the latest Honor Flight.

KVRR Anchor TJ Nelson and Chief Photographer John Hanson are traveling with the veterans as they visit the memorials in their honor.

It has been a whirlwind day of travel, sightseeing and getting to know one another.

These 87 men and one woman chosen for this flight served their country and this is just one more way to say “Thanks”.

“Okay, bye dad, have a great time.”

And with that veterans from World War 2, Korea and Vietnam loaded a Sun Country charter plane for our nation’s capital.

A quick 2 hour flight later and we landed at Reagan National Airport to thunderous applause and shouts of “thanks for your service.

A true hero’s welcome.

And a song or two for the Honor Flight by the Fairfax Jubilaires.

Dave Konshok was already impressed.

“Tremendous, it is tremendous,” said Dave.

We met Dave at our first stop, The Iwo Jima Memorial.

The memorial has been around since the 1950’s but it was just recently given a multi-million dollar makeover.

Dave served during World War Two and this Park Rapids, Minnesota native remembers the setting for this iconic image all too well.

“It was a miserable looking piece of rock. It was Mount Surabachi and it was just terrible.

I heard guys who’ve gone back and they say it’s all green now but it was just a miserable piece of rock that had been blasted. Terrible place to go,” Dave said.

Then we ran into the only woman being honored on this Honor Flight and her husband.

Grace Peterson and Maurice Peterson both served during the Korean Conflict before they got married.

“He called one day when I was in Yokihama, that’s where i worked out of Korea, and I said no I don’t want to see him,” Grace said.

Maurice called again the next day and she took him to the WAC club and it was the first time all those years that they’d talked.

“So we’ve been married going on 65 years. Then we argue because he’s Marine Korean Vet and I’m Army so and we are each sergeants so who got it first?” Grace said.

They are both proud of serving their country, especially Grace who also worked at the Pentagon.

“The 90 day wonders, writers from Time Magazine and all that were drafted. They wrote up the material and the war pictures, lots of pictures and sent it to us.

And then I would type it up at 100 and some words a minute and you can’t make an error.”

Then it was off to Arlington National cemetery to witness the changing of the guard ceremony.

It’s a meticulous routine by the guards watching over the Tomb of the Unknown.

The honor guard then headed off for a quick stop at one of America’s newest memorials: The Pentagon 911 memorial.

Benches facing the Pentagon are those who flew into it. Benches away from the building represent those inside.

Then one last stop at the FDR and MLK memorials. Another stop on this quick two-day adventure that veterans were wowed by.

“Unbelievable,” said Allen Nelson, from Alexandria.

What’s the highlight so far?

“Well everything it’s good, great, super!” Allen said.

The night was capped off with a supper and banquet in their honor before a good night’s rest before we do it all over again.

And you can imagine the sleep these war heroes are having right now after a very busy day traveling all across this city.

TJ, there is another day of activities planned for tomorrow?

Yes these heroes will be making stops at the Lincoln, Korean and Vietnam memorials just to name a few.

Then they’ll board the plan for Fargo and should arrive tomorrow night around 8 or 8:30 if you want to welcome them home.

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