Korean War Veterans Visit D.C. on Honor Flight

Washington, D.C. Veterans from Nebraska answered the call of duty, serving in Korea more than 60 years ago, now they're honored for their service.

The veterans were part of the single largest Honor Flight group in the Honor Flight Network's history.

It was a trip many veterans said they'll never forget.

When veterans landed at Dulles International Airport in Virginia, they were greeted by music, cheering, and volunteers to welcome them to DC.

One volunteer greeted each veteran as they walked off the plane, giving them a hug and a kiss on the cheek, "Hi handsome, welcome to DC, thank you for your service."

Lee Warneke from Plainview, Nebraska said he couldn't believe how many people were at the airport, "Just dumbfounded at how many people were lined up and saying thank you for serving."

Some of the people saying thank you--men and women currently serving our country.

US Navy Lt. Commander Nathan Winters was one of those people at the airport. He said, "It's heartwarming to say thank you to them, and have them say thank you right back to me, they're the ones who have gone before, they're the ones who have made this country, and the liberty we all take advantage of possible, I'm very grateful for their service and because of that it's one of the reasons I serve."

At the Korean War Memorial--the snow and cold reminded many veterans of what it was like in the winters of the early 1950's. In a special ceremony, three veterans were presented with medals made of barbed wire from the demilitarized zone.

Bill Lawless from Palisade was one of the three veterans who was presented the medal. He said, "My heart's about that big."

At the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Nebraska veterans watched and remembered as four other Korean War veterans were honored for their congressional medals of honor.

Robert Leach, Aurora, "It was quite a ceremony of the laying of the wreath by the congressional medal of honor winners."

The itinerary also included stops at the World War II Memorial, Iwo Jima Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery for the Changing of the Guard, and the Air Force Memorial.

Many of the veterans said visiting all the different memorials with their fellow veterans, along with the welcoming they had in DC was well worth the wait.

Warnecke added, "There was no homecoming, you came individually."

But 60 years later when the veterans finally arrived home at Eppley Airfield in Omaha, it was different. The 460 Korean War veterans were met with cheers and signs from hundreds of friends and family.

Max Gausman from Chester said, "They really made us feel welcomed home."

Gausman's wife Roberta remembers when he came home in 1954, "It was just me and his parents."

But this day was so different, it was something she'll never forget.

Roberta Gausman said, "There isn't words to say thanks enough."

Veterans of the so called "forgotten war" no longer forgotten.