|Veterans visit hallowed ground|
|Written by Staff Report|
|Wednesday, July 18, 2012 8:04 PM|
A chartered bus left the Lawrenceburg American Legion Post No. 23 Friday morning, June 1, loaded with veterans from Southeastern Indiana.
This was the sixth trip for veterans to Washington, D.C. to see the sites originating from the Lawrenceburg area.
The first two were Honor Flights to take the World War II veterans to D.C. to see their memorial. Because of their age, it was a one-day flight up and back. Starting with the third trip, it was decided to co-ordinate a three-day bus trip with John Schuler Tours.
Since these veterans were younger, they wouldn’t mind the bus ride to D.C. The first stop was in Shanksville, Pa., to see the crash site and memorial to Flight 93. The memorial was recently completed and is now open to the public.
On Saturday, June 2, the group arrived in downtown D.C. at 8 a.m. and started by visiting the Iwo Jima (or Marine Corps) Memorial. They visited the Air Force Memorial and then crossed the Potomac River to the Lincoln Memorial where they were met by John Connell, representing Ninth District State Rep. Todd Young, who with Andrew Terp, presented an American Flag that had been flown over the U.S. Capitol to Brett Bondurant. Brett was badly wounded back on Sept. 28, in Afghanistan by an IED and lost both legs.
Brett was the “guest of honor” on this trip and graciously accepted the flag which will be added to his growing collection of items he has received as an American hero. As the flag was being presented, Mark Morton, local Navy veteran and bagpiper, played two songs on the bagpipes and that immediately drew a large crowd.
They visited the Lincoln Memorial, Korean War Memorial, Vietnam Memorial (The Wall), the World War II Memorial, Washington Monument, White House, U.S. Capitol, Jefferson
Memorial and the National Air & Space Museum where they also had lunch.
Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs. The last visit of the day was at Arlington National Cemetery where their bus was escorted to the Amphitheater and they were able to visit the grave site of veteran and movie star, Audie Murphy.
They were able to watch the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns and then four of them were chosen to place the wreath at the tomb.
Brett Bondurant, a Purple Heart recipient and his grandpa, Jerry Bondurant, 101st Airborne, were the front two participants who actually set the wreath in place. The other two who assisted were Ebbie Roberts, a Vietnam Marine and Purple Heart recipient and Walt Bryant, U.S. Army retired, who received three Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts in Vietnam.
This was a very emotional experience to witness and put a lump in the throats of those watching.
This trip was made possible by a grant from the City of Lawrenceburg and city council. It was very much appreciated by those who were able to participate in the trip.
“Many times veterans feel unappreciated but on a trip such as this one they are able to see the friendly people at the memorials and monuments who would come up and say Thank you when they see the t-shirt with Indiana Veteran in bold black letters on it. The time they are able to spend with each other and reminisce about their active duty days is very important to them,” said Gentrup.
Everyone considered it a very high honor to be on the trip with Brett Bondurant, a true American hero, he said.
“The Lawrenceburg High School graduate paid a tremendous price to help protect our way of life and it’s because of young men (and women) who are willing to serve and make so many sacrifices that we are able to enjoy life in the greatest country in the world. We all wish Brett the very best in his rehabilitation now that he has returned to Texas,” said Gentrup.
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|Last Updated on Wednesday, July 18, 2012 8:05 PM|