Korean War Vets Honored on First ‘Valor Flight’
By Amanda Burke
Special to American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Nov. 14, 2011 More than 100 Korean War veterans from Alabama traveled here on Veterans Day weekend to visit the Korean War Memorial in the first trip of its kind.
Korean War veterans observe the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C., Nov. 12, 2011. The nonprofit organization Valor Flight sponsored the trip. Courtesy photo
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
The nonprofit organization Valor Flight sponsored the trip to grant the veterans’ wishes to visit the memorial. This was the first trip that the organization has sponsored.
During the day of honor and remembrance, the veterans toured the Korean War Memorial, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, the Iwo Jima Memorial and other famous sites.
At the Iwo Jima Memorial, Navy Cmdr. John O’Brien, member of the Department of Defense 60th Anniversary of the Korean War Commemoration Committee, awarded each of the veterans with a certificate of appreciation signed by Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta in honor of their service during the Korean War.
“Your country has not forgotten your sacrifice. Your utter selflessness has made possible the freedom and prosperity we enjoy today,” O’Brien said.
The Valor Flight program is modeled on the Honor Flight program that takes World War II veterans on day-long trips to the nation's capital. Valor Flight President Steve Celuch hopes to conduct another trip next spring.
“For our Korean War veterans, the men and women who served, it is critical that their sacrifices are not forgotten. This flight is one small way for us to say ‘thank you’ for their enormous contribution,” Celuch said.
The organization, which is based in Madison, Ala., seeks to recognize Korean War veterans for their service to the nation.