WASHINGTON (KELO) — Navy veteran Harold Peterson of Aurora, S.D. is blown away by this trip.
“Unbelievable,” Peterson said. “This is a wish of a lifetime.”
As he chatted with KELOLAND News by the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial on Wednesday’s Midwest Honor Flight trip, he talks about his late wife Barbara who passed away in December. They had been married almost 58 years.
“She was so happy that I was going to go, so my daughter’s going as my guardian,” Peterson said.
“We had talked to my mom about this trip, so she was going to be a part of it, so it was tough,” said Peterson’s guardian and daughter Michelle Milton of Brookings.
“My wife, she would have been really proud that I got to go, yep,” Peterson said. “It’s tough. Five months before my wife died my son died, so I had a bad year, you know, you lose a son and a wife.”
He and his daughter shared the experience in Washington.
“It meant the world to me, just to see all the vets enjoy people coming up to them and thanking them for their services,” Milton said.
Family is a recurring theme on a Midwest Honor Flight trip. Army veteran Kermit Wager of Gettysburg, S.D. had his daughter as his guardian.
“I’m glad she’s leading it, ’cause I guess maybe, I’d be behind it and not getting all the things done that I should be,” Wager said.
For Air Force veteran Dawn Rinehart of Hyde County, S.D., her family’s military history goes way back.
“My grandfather served in France in World War I, my uncle was shot down over the North Sea in World War II, my father-in-law was a Korean veteran,” Rinehart said.
But it’s not all about blood relatives. Veterans have a family connection with each other.
“You got something in common,” Peterson said. “It’s like brotherhood.”
“I am so proud of my dad for being a part of this, and for the service he’s given to our country,” Milton said.