Old Glory Honor Flight holds banquet to honor Korean War veterans
APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - For more than a year and a half, veterans had held out hope they could return to the country they fought and served in 70 years ago.
“I’d like to see the change because there had to be changes, because it was so backwards, nothing but huts, that’s all I saw, I didn’t see a standing building,” said John Peeters, a Korean War veteran.
After two separate attempts - one in June of 2020 and again this fall - Old Glory Honor Flight’s Return to Korea simply couldn’t take flight due to pandemic restrictions.
So on Sunday, the organization held a luncheon to honor the veterans at The Grand Meridian in Appleton.
“We wanted to get them together, most of them were scheduled to go on the Return to Korea trip which unfortunately just didn’t happen due to COVID, but it was one way for them to talk and reminisce and just hang out and have a good time,” said Diane MacDonald, the Executive Director for the Old Glory Honor Flight.
Sunday’s gathering left both the veterans and their family members touched.
“It was real nice for them to have this today, I thought this was a blessing I would say, it was real nice, I really enjoyed it,” said Martin Kufahl, a Korean War veteran.
“I think it meant a lot, I think the recognition is finally there for them, it’s 70 years, it’s pretty amazing,” said Renee Jackson, whose father served in Korea.
Along with lunch, the veteran received jackets and a gift bag, which included heartfelt, handwritten letters from students in South Korea.
They also posed for a group photo, leading to a sense of pride, some smiles and plenty of humor from a group of guys that now average 90 years old.
“I was a big war hero, I saved the lives of 52 men, I shot the cook,” said Brooch LaFave, another Korean War veteran.
“The first time I was looking forward to it, the second time, I can’t do much no more so probably was good it got canceled,” said Anthony Widmar, another Korean War veteran. “If I’d known I was going to live this long, I would’ve taken better care of myself,” he added with a laugh.
Action 2 News reporter Jeff Alexander and video journalist Bill Kumbalek traveled on a previous honor flight to Vietnam. CLICK HERE to watch our award-winning Return to Nam documentary.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE HONOR FLIGHT PROGRAM: https://www.oldgloryhonorflight.org/
How to apply for an Honor Flight: https://www.oldgloryhonorflight.org/
You can also donate to the cause by CLICKING HERE.
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