ARLINGTON, V.A. (KELO) — Midwest Honor Flight‘s latest mission brought some special moments and experiences for 121 Vietnam veterans on Saturday. One that stood out to many of them was the Changing of the Guard.
Every minute of every day since 1937, a sentinel has guarded the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. Honor Flight veterans were there for a Changing of the Guard ceremony.
“It is a great deal to see them and how they’re in time, their marching and everything, it’s just a great scene,” Marine veteran Ken Sedlacek said.
“The outstanding patience that those people have and all the precision, and that’s what makes it interesting is the precision. It’s all on count. It’s all practiced. It’s all kind of down to a science,” Army veteran Chester Groen said.
Navy veteran Susan Shrader was one of two female veterans on the trip. She was proud to see a woman guarding the tomb.
“To see a female at the changing of the guard was really remarkable, because I think women have a lot to give,” Shrader said.
“The world is changing, but it’s due. It’s due, because the females do just as much in the military as the guys do,” Groen said.
During their time at the monument, the veterans were also able to witness a wreath-laying ceremony. Seeing Arlington National Cemetery was a sentimental experience for these veterans.
“Arlington was just overwhelming. I always cry when I hear taps anyway, but to see all those stones, miles and miles and miles of them, I just — I can’t describe it. It’s just overwhelming,” Air Force veteran Linda Davis said.
“It’s amazing how many graves are there. The part that amazed me, just like it does my comrades, was that the families can be buried there. The wife and the children, they can be buried there. We never realized that before. And the amount of graves that’s out there, it’s unreal,” Sedlacek said.
KELOLAND News was not able to take video of the cemetery but was given permission to capture the Changing of the Guard. There will be a couple more stories from the Honor Flight coming up in the near future.
Previous stories from the latest Midwest Honor Flight Mission: