GREEN TREE (KDKA) – Over 200 veterans from Wisconsin, Illinois and other parts of the upper Midwest came through the area en route to Washington, D.C. as part of the Vets Roll Project.
On Monday, the group made a stop at the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville.
“I don’t have the words to express it. It’s just wonderful. To me, it’s a trip of a lifetime,” Korean War Veteran Hank Reimer said.
“It’s [going to] be a trip to remember,” Army Veteran George Fredin said.
Reveille was at 6 a.m. Monday at the Double Tree Hilton in Green Tree.
After a quick breakfast, the group moved out to Shanksville to the Flight 93 Memorial. From there, they will head to Washington, D.C.
In Washington, they will visit the World War II and Korean War Memorials.
They will also visit the Arlington National Cemetery, where many of their comrades have been laid to rest.
The Korean and World War II vets represent different divisions of the military including, Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines.
“We’re all ribbing each other back and forth. Looked around and there were all Marines. I said, ‘Boy I’m sitting at the wrong table,’” Army Veteran Robert Larsen said.
Some things never change, but it’s more than a bus trip. It’s a time to share.
“For many of them it’s a wonderful event because they actually find some closure,” Kevin Murry from VetsRoll.org said.
Closure for men like Larsen whose soul carries the young spirits of others to places they never lived to see.
“I was a platoon sergeant and I lost my whole platoon that night and I’ll never forget it. That’s with me all the time,” Larsen said. “I think about them – why couldn’t they be here instead of me?”
Interestingly enough, they were visiting some of the greatest monuments in all of America.
However, the place they were looking forward to most was getting back home.
A long time ago that’s all they fought for and the only place they ever wanted to be.