Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
September 16, 2017
Photos: Stars and Stripes Honor FlightWASHINGTON - They came because they wanted to visit their buddies.
A group of Vietnam veterans visiting the Air Force Memorial in Washington, D.C., pose for pictures. The Port Washington-based Stars and Stripes Honor Flight brought its first planeload of Vietnam veterans to the nation’s capital as the ranks of World War II and Korean War veterans dwindle. Meg Jones / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
They wanted to see the names of men forever 19 or 20, men who never aged or grew gray or started families or got on with the rest of their lives after serving their country.
They came to experience the camaraderie only people who have served in combat, no matter how many decades ago, feel when they come together. And though they weren’t expecting it — they also received the heroes’ welcome veterans of other wars had gotten but was cruelly denied to many of them.
A group of 80 Vietnam veterans traveled to Washington, D.C., Saturday on the first Stars and Stripes Honor Flight dedicated to men and women who served during that conflict.
Stewart Johnson came to visit Johnnie Vaught Jr. John Phelan wanted to see Bob Gasko. Ted Peller Jr. was paying his respects to Danny Sikorski.
Johnson, 68, a retired Milwaukee police officer, planned to leave a medal awarded to him for saving someone’s life in Vietnam. His daughter, Kelly Becker, encouraged him to instead take a picture of his medal and leave that at the memorial at the spot where Vaught’s name is listed among 58,000 others who lost their lives in Vietnam.
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