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September 02, 2009 05:53 PM

Honor Flight Too Emotional For Some

Honor Flight gave World War Two veterans a long-overdue thank you for their time serving our country and protecting our freedoms.  For many, it's the first time they've been recognized for their service, and it stirred up emotions and thoughts they've suppressed since the war.

The wounds were still too fresh for one vet. South Dakota Honor Flight veterans gathered for photos at the state's pillar at the World War Two Memorial in D.C.  But one vet was missing.  Navy Veteran Jim Lockhart couldn't bring himself to join the crowd, couldn't make himself step inside the memorial dedicated to his service.

"If I'd have thought, and knew what was ahead of me when I got on that plane, I wouldn't have come. I don't like that feeling. I always waited to take a detour around anything that's emotional, didn't work this time," Lockhart said.
Like many vets, Lockhart hasn't talked much about what he saw overseas since returning from the war. Even now, it's still too tough.

"I just can't blend with the people that I know are looking for answers and I can't give them to them. Can't even get them for myself," Lockhart said.

He still questions how he made it out alive when so many others did not.

"I don't call that luck and I can't, when all the people who really paid the price aren't here," Lockhart said.

And because they never got to experience the Memorial, Lockhart felt he wasn't ready to either.

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