Austin veterans humbled by D.C. Honor FlightPublished 5:35pm Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Onboard a packed airplane, three men originally from Lyle joined more than 100 others as they received well-deserved recognition for hard-fought efforts from decades ago.
Last Saturday, Bob Myhre, Loren Stanton and Kermit Leidall, now all living in Austin, attended the Honor Flight to Washington D.C. Myhre and Stanton are Navy veterans who both served in World War II. Leidall is an Army veteran who served in the Korean and Vietnam wars. The honor was appropriate for their military services.
“We couldn’t have gotten treated any better,” Leidall said.
The men boarded a plane in La Crosse, Wis., on May 4. The local veterans didn’t know anyone else on the airplane, and the flight was long. The whole day was very long, but that was OK. They had plenty to talk about.
“For us young guys, it didn’t matter,” Myhre joked.
Once in Washington, the group toured Arlington National Cemetery, the Lincoln Memorial and memorials of World War II, Korean War and Vietnam after receiving a police escort followed by a motorcade. The longtime Lyle residents and members of the Lyle American Legion were moved by the statue of “The Raising of the Flag on Iwo Jima,” the Unknown Soldier and the sheer size of the cemetery.
“Kermit is going to be buried there,” Stanton said, who has known Leidall for decades but didn’t know that fact until the trip.
“I couldn’t dream of how big the cemetery is there,” Myhre added. “And they’re tearing down buildings to add on to the cemetery because they’re running out of space.”
After a long day of remembering the country’s heroes, praise grew when they returned home, too.
“It was quite the reception when we came back,” Stanton said.
Back in La Crosse, a band celebrated the occasion. There were fireworks, Leidall recalled. A crowd of people awaited their return, saluting and waving flags.