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Lawrence veterans travel on Heartland Honor Flight
The Heartland Honor Flights brought about 1500 veterans from nearly 200 Nebraska towns to Washington D.C. to see the World War II Memorial in the past year. KHAS–TV is proud to have been there every step of the way. NEWS 5's Dennis Kellogg shows us how one small central Nebraska town was well–represented in D.C. last week.
There are about 300 people in Lawrence, Nebraska. Five of those people, and a couple more from the surrounding area, left town last week to travel together to Washington D.C. to see the World War II Memorial.
"It just kind of brings back memories of when I was in the service and it is good to see so many people appreciate what was done when we were back in the service," said Lawrence veteran Bob Karmazin.
Brothers Bob and Gerald Kohmetscher said they were not about to miss this trip.
"It is something we had never seen before if we had not come with that bunch," said Bob Kohmetscher.
Getting the chance to see these memorials up close gives these brothers a chance once again to remember those days when they were far away from each other.
"Him and I were separated for four years during the war. He went over on the Atlantic. I went over to Tokyo and that is four years we had not seen each other," said Gerald Kohmetscher.
Some of these south–central Nebraska veterans got completely caught up in the day.
"Nobody could express what I think of this. It is just wonderful. To see all the people around here and see all of them and everybody around here, they have all got a grin on their face, you know it? And does not matter who you talk to, they are all just happy as a lark," Clay Center veteran Bobbie Mihm said.
Yet, the veterans also recognized that many of those they served beside never got the chance to see this memorial, or experience a "thank you" from a grateful country.
"Not too many of them left and it is great to have them all together since we are still alive some of us. Most them are gone already from Lawrence," said Lawrence veteran Don Kucera.
"A lot of them are not around anymore. The real older vets that was in longer, this came a little too late for a lot of them," said Blue Hill veteran Vic Alber.
"I am just thankful that I lived to be able to see it. The people that are still left out here today, I know we are losing a lot of our World War II vets. They are going fast. We are all up in our 80s or probably older," said Lawrence veteran Ray Slater.
Which makes this trip for these veterans from Lawrence and the surrounding area so much more special.
There is a Heartland Honor Flight reunion being planned for all the Nebraska veterans who made one of these flights in the past year. That reunion will be in Omaha on Memorial Day weekend.
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