The airplane flight from Moline, Illinois, to the nation’s capital and back to the Midwest gave several veterans a dose of reality May 30. For the Dzierzynski and Spratt brothers, the Honor Flight of the Quad Cities trip could be the final adventure they all take as a group of siblings.
The Dzierzynskis, originally from the north central Illinois town of Spring Valley, and the Spratt brothers of Amboy, Illinois, hitched rides into the Military District of Washington on an Honor Flight of the Quad Cities excursion. Honor flights are arranged trips by nonprofit organizations to bring veterans to the national capital region to view the war memorials and other sites of interest. For the entire Dzierzynski clan, which included Harold, Robert, Leroy and Lawrence, it was their first visit ever to Washington and its war memorials.
“Everything has been great,” said Harold, who was in the Navy during the Korean War. “We’re looking forward to seeing everything.”
A total of 103 veterans, 99 from the Vietnam era and four from the Korean War, traveled to Dulles International Airport in Virginia, for a full day of ceremony and reverence. The itinerary included stops at the Udvar-Hazy Center and strolls past the Lincoln Memorial while visiting the Vietnam and Korea war memorials.
“This was something I thought we’d never do,” Lawrence said of the trip with his brothers as he walked the paths of the Korean memorial. “It’s moving to see this and being with my brothers makes it extra moving.”
Following the dodging of severe thunderstorms, the bus caravan crossed the Potomac River for a changing of the guard ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.
“It was amazing especially when we got off the plane and all those people cheer you,” Harold said. “I can’t really put it in words what it means being here with my brothers today. This is a once-in-a-lifetime trip. I just wish my two other brothers (who are deceased) were here, and we would have been here with six brothers.”
Pentagram Staff Writer Jim Dresbach can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.