WASHINGTON D.C, (KELO) — Midwest Honor Flight took dozens of veterans on the ‘Seed For Success Mission 12’ tour this past Saturday.
Out of the 84 veterans on this flight, 76 of them served during the Vietnam War. Many of the vets say this trip provided closure and relief for them.
Before the veterans and their guardians began touring the many memorials in Virginia and Washington D.C.
Many Vietnam veterans told me there was one part of the trip that had already made a lasting impact.
“The reception. All the fanfare. Everyone thanking us for our service, it was.. a welcome I never got,” said Mark Bratek, Vietnam Air Force Veteran, said.
Mark Bratek is a Vietnam Combat Veteran, he served during the Tet Offensive in 1968. He and others say the attitude towards Vietnam veterans is night and day.
“The war was not a popular war at all. When we came back people did not like us whatsoever- the military. You saw people at the airport being shunned, and yelled at ‘baby killers’ and all those nasty comments,” Bratek said.
“There was none. They ignored us, if anything it was.. they didn’t want us,” said Richard Schietzelt, Vietnam Navy Veteran, said.
Richard Schietzelt served in the Navy during the Vietnam era. He was stationed on the USS Independence around the Mediterranean Sea. He tells me the reception he received on the trip cleared his conscious about his service.
“People are appreciating whatcha did. In the airports, people standing and cheering… that really throws one at you,” Shietzelt said.
Which is one of the many goals of Honor Flight.
“Our hope is now by the end of the day that they have felt that honor, that respect, that closure and that for some that their war is finally over,” said Aaron Van Beek, President and CEO of Midwest Honor Flight.