'It was very emotional': Honor Flight veterans visit WWII and Korean War memorials

The South Willamette Valley Honor Flight visited the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Saturday morning. They will also visit the Arlington National Cemetery for the changing of the guard ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown. (SBG photo)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Willamette Valley veterans are in Washington D.C. this weekend for the Honor Flight visit.

The program gives them an opportunity to tour their memorials in the nation’s capital.

Saturday, the veterans visited the World War II memorial and the Korean War Veterans Memorial.

“I don't know why I'm so emotional about it. But when we started driving in here I just have empathy for all the people that were lost. I lost a lot of buddies,” said Del Long, a WWII veteran.

Long and other veterans on the Honor Flight gathered for a picture in front of the wall of starts. Each of the 4,084 gold stars represents 100 U.S. service members killed in action in WWII.

“It was very emotional. It was a very nice gesture, beautiful,” said Chuck Kohler, a Navy veteran.

“It's an honor have my dad here, my brother-in-law. I'm very proud of everybody that's here, all the veterans that are here. I'm very proud of them. Wouldn't be here without them,” said Jimmy Kohler, a Navy veteran.

For many of the veterans, receiving thanks for their service is a big help.

“I couldn't wait to take my uniform off when I got back because in the airport, you know, you were a baby killer. They spit on you and just to be able to have people express their gratitude is amazing,” said Jim Abelman, a veteran.

Each state is represented by a column at the WWII memorial.

The South Willamette Valley Honor Flight has now brought 462 veterans to see their memorials.

RELATED | Honor Flight from Oregon arrives in D.C. to a hero's welcome

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