SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – A Midwest Honor Flight trip is a bit of a whirlwind. After all, it brings Veterans all the way to northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. before it’s wheels up once again back to South Dakota.
“It’s going to be a long day,” Army veteran Sam Seymour of Murdo, South Dakota said. “We was up at 2:30 this morning, and we get back to Sioux Falls they say at 9:30 tonight, so that’ll be putting in a full day.”
83 veterans from the upper Midwest were honored on Wednesday’s trip. From the Marine Corps War Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery to memorials on the National Mall, it’s a day when brotherhood is front and center.
“When you’re in the Army, you’re with a bunch of guys you don’t know, but you’re all on the same mission,” Army veteran Lyle Bowes of Brookings, South Dakota said. “And so you feel the camaraderie and all of that stuff and it’s the same today, we’re on the same mission.”
“It’s sentimental,” Seymour said. “It kind of gives you a tingle in your belly.”
Dan Santella: How’s it make you feel to be a part of this trip?
“A once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Army Reserve veteran CJ Schelling of northwest Iowa said.
The experiences can be emotional.
“It’s overwhelming,” Army veteran Dale Schroeder said. “It can’t be better.”
“It’s just amazing to think that me, I’m here … and I came to see, really, to see the Veterans. I wanted to see how they did,” Army veteran Mary Ellen Jepsen of Mitchell, South Dakota said. “And here I am one of them.”
“I’m loving it,” Navy veteran Robert Gamble said. “It just, it feels good to be among all these guys, and I’ve heard a few of their stories, which some of them are painful, some of them are hilarious. But yeah, it’s been a great trip for me.”
Blue shirts identify the veterans honored on this trip, with their different experiences joining them together.
“It makes you feel like a family,” Army veteran Larry Sattler of Sioux Falls said. “I mean, we’re all cut from the same mold.”