Veterans share U.P. Honor Flight experience

Veterans share U.P. Honor Flight experience

ESCANABA — After an exciting day in the nation’s capital, a crew of over seventy veterans arrived back in the Upper Peninsula Wednesday night, and the welcome could not have been warmer.

Community members greeted participants in the latest Upper Peninsula Honor Flight as they returned to the Delta County Airport in Escanaba. Veterans returned with stories of their visits to numerous monuments and memorials across Washington, D.C.

“Well, it was just wonderful. They all treated us as though we were all Medal of Honor winners there. It just couldn’t have been any better,” said Korean War U.S. Army veteran Don Veale.

“We had [an] escort to all the memorials. It was very, very humbling, and all the veterans I talked to on the flight with me just loved it,” James Dallapiazza, who served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, said.

“It’s probably been the most wonderful day that I’ve ever had in my life,” said Robert Chapman, a U.S. Air Force veteran who also served during the Korean War. “It was fantastic, and I’ve always urged [that] any American that can go to Washington, D.C., should.”

Veterans got a chance to see the Changing of the Guard at Arlington National Cemetery in addition to stops at monuments like the Lincoln Memorial.

“That was something else. I’ve always loved Mr. Lincoln — I’ve read his books — and to see it — it just blew my mind. It doesn’t get any better,” Chapman added.

“Thanks! Thanks a million to everybody. Without them, we would have never done it,” said Dale Axtell, a U.S. Navy veteran who served in World War II.

The U.P. Honor Flight is held twice each year, and it is one of many such trips organized across the nation through the Honor Flight Network.