Hero Flight

Kayleen Riley, a volunteer on the Hall County Hero Flight in Washington, D.C., helps two members of the group find a name on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Tuesday.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sometimes experiences are better when you bring a family member.

Korean War veteran Harold Gustafson brought his son Greg on the Hall County Hero Flight as his escort.

Greg Gustafson said the honor flight has been a special experience with his dad.

“This was a trip for dad and son to share together and remember for the rest of our lives,” he said.

Along with visiting the memorials in Washington Tuesday, the veterans and their escorts were able to visit the Caisson at Fort Myer and received a night tour of the United States Capitol, a treat that is Harold Gustafson’s favorite part of the trip so far.

“I told Greg, it’s hard to believe we’re at the United States Capitol. We’re right in the middle of it,” he said.

The tour guides took the members of the Hero Flight to the House of Representatives chamber, where they were able to sit where the congressmen and women sit while the House is in session.

“As I sat in the chair, I wondered who had sat in those chairs prior to me,” said Greg Gustafson. “When he said the presidents all walked to the left, I realized they would have walked right by where I was sitting.”

On Wednesday, the veterans and their escorts will visit the World War II Memorial as well as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier before returning home to Grand Island.

Four members of the Hall County group will get to lay the wreath at the tomb.

Harold Gustafson said he is most looking forward to seeing the wreath laid at the tomb.

The Hall County Hero Flight will then wrap up, with the group set to return to Grand Island at about 6:15 p.m. A special welcome home is planned when the final Hall County Hero Flight touches down at the Central Nebraska Regional Airport.

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