The third U.P. Honor Flight took off last Thursday from Escanaba for the World War II memorials in Washington D.C. In the plane were nearly 80 U.P. World War II veterans and their guardians, as well as Honor Flight volunteers.
The trip was free of charge to these veterans. Monday some of them gathered to talk about the unforgettable experience.
??I was a sheltered farm girl,?? explains 89-year-old Marine Corps veteran Stephanie Severson. ??And I left for Chicago on a train and I thought, good heavens, what am I doing?"
Severson is originally from Peronville. She was a radio operator in the Marine Corps. She was one of five female veterans along with the bigger group who made the trip to D.C.
The vets encountered a great deal of support and attention from all ages.
??One child asked me if I was scared to be in a war, and I said I wasn't because I was in the States," Severson says.
The U.P. Honor Flight organizer and a volunteer shared some pictures of the day-long tour of the memorials.
The veterans reminisced and shared stories, as they looked back at the memories and new friends they made last week.
??I think I was always a patriot,?? says Navy veteran Richard Marenger. ??But this has instilled in me a stronger feeling of patriotism for my country."
There are already plans for a fourth Honor Flight. About $85,000 will have to be raised to make this next mission possible.
??We need not only Delta County support,?? says volunteer Paula Waeghe. ??We need other communities' support. We need help from the Marquette area, like Ishpeming and Negaunee, and way up in the Keweenaw. Just contact us, and we can assist with bringing brochures and whatever else they need."
Organizers say their number one priority is finding these veterans to fill the honor flight.
About 60 veterans have already signed up for the fourth Honor Flight. It??s expected to take place at the end of April or beginning of May 2013. For more information, visit http://upperpeninsulahonorflight.org/