Preparing for Waterloo Honor Flight #3 - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Preparing for Waterloo Honor Flight #3


Dozens of Eastern Iowa World War II veterans are preparing for a life-changing experience. On September 27th, the third Waterloo Honor Flight will depart for our nation's capitol.

News Channel Seven's Colleen O'Shaughnessy is going along on the flight to tell the stories of these men and women. Thursday evening, she caught up with the vets before they take off to learn about their past, and what they can expect to see and experience on their whirlwind trip.

Brothers John Junior Boeck and Otto Lewis Boeck are two of the veterans flying on the Sullivan-Hartogh-Davis Post #730 Honor Flight. Both had to have their family members talk them into taking the trip.

"They said, go, so that's why I'm here!" joked John.

"Now I hope I get all fired up about it!" Otto said.

Walking into the Moose Lodge for orientation was the first taste the veterans had of what the honor flight will be like. The entrance, and the hall, was decorated with dozens of American flags and everything red, white, and blue. The Lodge was offered free of charge, and the decorations provided by local Hy-Vee stores.

"We owe these men and women our livelihood right now. They're the reason we're here living the lives we're living right now," said Hy-Vee Marketing Coordinator and Honor Flight Guardian Angel Niki Keller.

Decades ago, the men and women fought side-by-side for our country. What they're about to experience in Washington D.C. will bond them in a way they may not yet be able to imagine.

"It's a hard day, I'm sure. But I'll enjoy it!" John said.

Otto noted, "it'll bring back a lot of memories."

Already, the veterans, like the Boeck brothers, are recalling stories that they've kept to themselves for many, many years. Some that make you laugh...

"The M1, I could take the eye out of a gnat at 600 yards, I think. But they gave me a 45, and I could throw that 45 and hit somebody better than I could shoot them," John recalled.

Others, that will bring you to tears.

"II was only on the front line six months. But that cemetery in Belgium has 8,000 graves of American service men. Our unit has the second most graves in that cemetery," Otto recounted.

Difficult as it may be, it's important for the veterans to tell their stories, so we don't forget the sacrifice of a fading generation.

"We owe it to them to pay tribute to them and honor them. To hear their stories and be there for them," Keller explained.

Organizing the Waterloo Honor Flights takes a lot of support from local businesses and individuals. Next week, Waterloo and Cedar Falls Hy-Vee's are helping out with a spaghetti supper. You can stop by any of the stores on September 13th, from 4:00 p.m. -7:00 p.m. You'll get a great meal, and help send deserving veterans to see their monument in D.C. All of the proceeds from the dinners go toward the Waterloo Honor Flight program.

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