Honor Flight Vet Helps Others Make The Flight
September 12, 2011, 7:25 PM
SIOUX FALLS, SD -
Many of the guardians who traveled for Honor Flight say they got just as much out of the trip as the veterans themselves.
One veteran who went on the first trip turned around and became a guardian. Ken Salisbury says he formed a special bond that way with his fellow World War Two soldiers.
Salisbury was just a boy of 19 when he enlisted in Air Corp. Nearly 70 years later, taking the first Honor Flight out of South Dakota brought back a flood of memories.
"It was just absolutely something you don't even think about. It was that good," Salisbury said. "You can't tell how you felt about those kids of things, there's not words in the dictionary."
There may not be words, but Salisbury's actions speak for themselves. He turned around and volunteered to act as a guardian for his fellow vets on eight other flights.
"I just thought it was so great and I was in good enough shape, I could continue to help and a lot of those guys were in much worse shape and I could help those guys. I told everybody after that I got to help those old guys," Salisbury said.
And help, he did. From pushing wheelchairs to just lending an ear to vets who finally were able to open up and share their war stories.
"I had an advantage over most of the veterans for the most part because I was a World War Two veteran. And when the guys I was pushing or working with found out I was a veteran, he'd tell me things he wouldn't tell anybody else. And I had some real fun stories to listen to," Salisbury said.
Salisbury also wanted to help in another way. The veterans all received Honor Flight medals and Salisbury wasn't sure what to do with his.
"I got up and put it in the drawer and then I shut the door and started to walk away and I turned around and said wait a minute I'll probably never see it again," Salisbury said.
So Salisbury made his way to his wood shop to create a holder for the medallion and went on to make 1,600 more for every vet who went on an Honor Flight.
"I even got Christmas cards from some of them. So, that worked out pretty good," Salisbury said.
Salisbury even made a case to display his World War Two medals and badges and says his Honor Flight experience has given him some closure on a war he fought so long ago.
"You're completing a chapter of your life and you just go on," Salisbury said. "You still have some memories, some are good some aren't, but really they're all good because you remember both sides a little bit. You're not forgetting your past, you're just living beyond it."
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