Veterans have many memories based on their time in the military, but a group out of Plainfield continues to make new memories for Indiana veterans.
That was evidenced by the thoughts shared by four Bartholomew County veterans who made a trip to Washington, D.C., on Sept. 3 as part of the Indy Honor Flight program.
The program takes military veterans on an all-expense-paid trip to the nation’s capital, with guardians to assist them. Local veterans who went with a group of 178 Hoosiers were Ike Wasson and Bob Gilliland of Hope, and Ken Ritz and Bob Condon of Columbus. They saw the Lincoln Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery and the memorials for those who died in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. They also were greeted by 1996 Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole outside the World War II memorial.
The trip evoked memories past and touched their emotions. The local men expressed thanks for the opportunity and the warm reception they received, which included receiving mail on the flight home that included letters from students, family, friends, church members and politicians.
These flights take a lot of work to organize. A local veterans group, the Bartholomew County Honoring Veterans Committee, recognized the effort needed by paying tribute to Indy Honor Flight coordinators Jerry Vest and Ronda Notter with a surprise honor as Patriot Award winners during its 16th annual banquet on Saturday at the Hilton Garden Inn, near Taylorsville. About 70 people attended.
The Honor Flight program has transported more than 1,800 veterans to Washington, D.C., for day-long programs since its first flight in 2012. That’s impressive, and greatly appreciated, so honoring Vest’s and Notter’s work was well deserved.
Veterans sacrificed a lot in the service of the country. Time away from home, family and friends was difficult. Sometimes they returned with physical, mental and emotional wounds. Their memories run the gamut, from great to horrifying.
Honoring veterans — today, on Veterans Day, and every day — for what they have done is an important recognition. The Indy Honor Flight program plays an important role in accomplishing that goal.
Veterans deserve a great thanks for what they have done for this country, and so do Vest and Notter for organizing special trips that honor the service of veterans and create great, new memories.
The names of 187 military veterans from Bartholomew County who have died in the past year will be read during today’s Veterans Day program in Columbus, with a balloon released by the Bartholomew County Funeral Directors as each name is read.
The program is 11 a.m. at the Bartholomew County Veterans Memorial on the Courthouse grounds.
The ceremony also includes singing of the national anthem, additional music by the Southern Indiana Pipes & Drums and the playing of “Taps”; the laying of wreaths by the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary, VFW Ladies Auxiliary, Daughters of the American Revolution and Gold Star Mothers; plus rifle volleys by the Bartholomew County Honor Guard.