Published On: Wed, Nov 6th, 2013

Honor Flight brings back memories for Eickhoff

HARTINGTON — The Honor Flight for 136 Nebraska Korean War Veterans was a one-day visit to their past.

Harold Eickhoff, Hartington, was among the veterans who made the trip to Washington, D.C., last week.

The Honor Flight was set up to recognize and thank the veterans who served during the Korean War – often called the “Forgotten War.”

The veterans boarded a plane and flew out of Omaha before the sun was up. They were headed for the nation’s capital where the first stop of the day was the Korean War Veterans Memorial – a return trip was made at the end of the day to see the memorial in twilight.

The Memorial includes an authentic depiction of 19 soldiers on patrol in Korea. The stainless steel statues, which are dressed in full combat gear, are dispersed among strips of granite and juniper bushes that represent the rugged terrain of Korea.

A plaque at the Korean Memorial is inscribed with the words:

“Our nation honors her sons and daughters who answered the call to defend a country they never knew and a people they never met.”

A granite wall bears the simple message, inlaid in silver: “Freedom is not free.”

The veterans also visited the Lincoln Memorial, monuments to World War II, Vietnam and Iwo Jima, Arlington National Cemetery, along with other sights, but would be back in Omaha before midnight.

The veterans and their wives and other family members gathered for dinner the evening before the Honor Flight. Blue shirts, blue windbreakers and black caps were issued to the veterans to wear on the trip.

The evening included a band, patriotic songs, prayers, speeches, hugs and a special thank-you from Governor Dave Heineman.

The men were thanked for what they did close to 60 years ago – when they were asked to risk their lives to fight for freedom for a country few of them had ever even heard of.

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