WATERLOO – Eleven veterans from Buchanan County were part of the 25th Cedar Valley Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., on September 10 of this year.
Among the 100 veterans were:
- William Aldrich, Vietnam/USAF, Brandon, accompanied by Patrick Aldrich
- Michael Miller, Vietnam/Army, Fairbank, accompanied by Kathy Kroemer
- Maurice Shields, Vietnam/Army, Fairbank, accompanied by Ryan Shields
- James Trebon, Vietnam/USAF, Fairbank, accompanied by Michael Trebon
- Andrew Willwerth, Vietnam/Army, Fairbank, accompanied by Kathy Kroemer
- John Brown, Vietnam/Navy, Independence, accompanied by Mitchel Brown
- Vic Ortner, Korea/USMC, Independence, accompanied by Gene Budzine
- Alvin Remetch, Vietnam/Army, Independence, accompanied by Michael Trebon
- Steven Waskow, Vietnam/Army, Independence, accompanied by Todd Trebon
- Dale Kies, Vietnam/Navy, Jesup, accompanied by Aaron Kies
- Robert May, Vietnam/USAF, Jesup, accompanied by Todd Trebon
The veterans and their guardians departed the Waterloo Municipal Airport at 7 a.m. and arrived at the Baltimore-Washington International Airport shortly after at 10 a.m. (ET). The tour stopped at the WWII Memorial before taking a short bus ride around famous D.C. sites (e.g., Washington Monument, Capitol Building, and White House) before visiting the Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Wall, and Korean Memorial complex.
Midafternoon, they visited the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery and witnessed the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns. After Arlington National Cemetery, the group stopped at the Air Force Memorial for group photos and a light supper. The memorial is situated on a hill overlooking D.C. and the Pentagon.
On the plane trip home was mail call. Packets of hand-drawn cards and letters from school children and family were handed out.
After the plane landed in Waterloo, family, friends, and members of the public gave the vets a grand welcome home, complete with a band and bagpipers.
The Cedar Valley Honor Flights are free to the veterans. The trips are made possible by the generosity of individuals and corporate sponsorships. In addition, the Cedar Valley Honor Flight has held a variety of extravaganzas over the years to help with fundraising. This year, another fundraiser was launched with the sale of calendars, videos, and commemorative pins.
The Progress Review of La Porte City has been the official photographer of the Cedar Valley Honor Flight trips since 2011. They have created a 20-month calendar (July 2019 – December 2020) full of color photos of Cedar Valley veterans touring the Washington, D.C., monuments and memorials.
An 84-minute video entitled “The Unknowns,” produced in 2016, is also being sold. The video gives a “behind the scenes” look into what it takes to be a guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. It was created by two Army veterans.
The final item being offered by Cedar Valley Honor Flight is a small pin commemorating the 25th Cedar Valley Honor Flight on September 10, 2019.
The items are available by contacting Teresa Schmitz (319-239-9736 or firstname.lastname@example.org) or the Bulletin Journal (319-334-2557 or email@example.com). The calendar is $20; the video is $20; and the pin is $5.
All proceeds go to Cedar Valley Honor Flight. Visit cedarvalleyhonorflights.org for more information about the flights and how to apply to go.