Veterans of Korea on Honor Flight to Washington D.C. - - Columbia, South Carolina

Veterans of Korea on Honor Flight to Washington D.C.

Honor Flight guests at Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C. Honor Flight guests at Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The Honor Flight program started as a way to get World War II veterans to Washington but as the years passed, the focus shifted to Korea. 

It was an ideological war, stuck between the glory of World War II and the controversy of Vietnam.

"Do they know what the Korean War was all about? No,they don't," said Bobby Price. "They never heard of it. Forgotten."

Price was one of 70 Korea vets who made the trip to Washington this week to get a look at their memorial for the first time. It's a squad of soldiers forever on patrol.

"Someone was on patrol every night," said Walter Walker. "We lost a good many men from time to time."

"That's who I think of the most," said Curtis Walker. "The people who didn't come back."

"You can't imagine what you're going through over there," said Price. "You don't know when you'll get to see your family again. You pray about it. Cry about it. You can't imagine how you'll get out of something like this."

For those veterans it was a sacrifice that didn't come with much recognition. Maybe because the war ended with an armistice; no major victory or decisive defeat.

There were no elaborate welcome home celebrations.
"There was about a 6 piece band that welcomed us," said Walter Walker. "That was the welcome."

"There was no parade," said Price. "No glory. The forgotten war. 55,000 people died over there plus the wounded."

But throughout the day the veterans got a taste of what they missed almost 60 years ago: A cheering crowd to welcome them to Washington. And crowds of tourists curious to hear their stories and eager to say, "Thanks."

"It kinda' puts tears in your eyes," said Curtis Walker.

"Even though I'm 81 years old I sure love to hear it," said Robert Moak.

But the most gratitude was waiting back in Columbia. Hundreds who did a lot by spending a little time.

"I didn't know there was that many people up here who are thankful for what we had done," said Moak. "It really makes you feel like you did something great to help your country, and the people living here."

About 100 Veterans from the Midlands were on the 18th Honor Flight Wednesday, made possible by Lexington Medical Center.

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