Area Veterans Participate in Honor Flight
By SHAUN FRIEDRICHSEN
Four veterans from the Alliance area were selected as part of the Honor Flight program to go to Washington D.C., where they were able to be recognized for their service and had the opportunity to visit the various war memorials in the nation’s capital.
LeRoy Fry, who served in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam era, was accompanied by his wife Sherri Fry; Larry Edwards, who served in the Army during Vietnam, was accompanied by his daughter Amber Edwards; Dusty Peterson, who also served in the Army during Vietnam, was accompanied by his wife Glenda Peterson; Charles Jensen Sr., who served in the Air Force in the Korean War, was accompanied by his granddaughter Jennifer Jensen, who is active in the Air Force and stationed in Cheyenne, Wyo.
LeRoy Fry recounted his experience on the Honor Flight, noting it is something that will stay with him for the rest of his life.
“It meant quite a bit,” said Fry. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience to be able to go to the Washington D.C. area and see these memorials that were designated for different eras for our history. I did not have any favorites—I thought each and every one of them was awe-inspiring in their own right. I appreciated each one of them.”
Some of the memorials they visited as part of the Honor Flight included the Vietnam Wall, the Korean Memorial, the World War II Memorial, as well as the 9/11 Memorial. Fry said they also visited Arlington National Cemetery and were able to see a wreath-laying ceremony, as well as the changing of the guard.
“It was breath taking,” Fry said about the changing of the guard. “That was one of the most amazing things I saw.”
While making the journey from Chadron to Denver, Fry noted they were escorted by law enforcement, as well as the Freedom Riders throughout the trip. He said he was overcome with by seeing people gathered along U.S. Highway 385 in Alliance.
“One thing that was also awe-inspiring was when we went through Alliance,” said Fry. “Numerous people had a flag line going there. I noticed, WNCC also had their students out there on a flag line right by the Kansas Street turn off. It was wonderful to see all these people who cared enough to come out and hold a flag.”
Barb Reed, who is one of the Honor Flight Board Members, helped to organize this flight. She said this year, marked their 11th Honor Flight. She believes the Honor Flight program plays an important role in honoring and recognizing veterans for their service to the country.
Fry hopes that more veterans will take advantage of the Honor Flight program, noting it is open to veterans from each era.
“It’s for all veterans,” said Fry. “Primarily, what they do is they get as many of the World War II and Korean veterans as they can, initially, because those are the most elderly people.”
Applications for the program can be found online at www.honorflight.org.
“I just typed in Lone Eagle Honor Flight, and found two documents I could download, and you fill those out: one for the veteran and one for the guardian. Along with that, the veteran also submits a copy of his DD214, and we take those up to the Veterans Service Officer in Chadron. It’s just rather handy,” Fry said.