Local vets impressed with the nation’s memorials

The Honor Flight Nevada veterans pose in front of the Iwo Jima Memorial. (Photo: Steve Ranson/LVN)

The Honor Flight Nevada veterans pose in front of the Iwo Jima Memorial. (Photo: Steve Ranson/LVN)

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Area veterans representing three distinctly different eras of wars reflected on their military service during last weekend’s four-day trip as part of Honor Flight Nevada’s trip to the nation’s memorials built in their honor.
While in Washington, D.C. the veterans visited memorials near the Capitol – those built for Vietnam and Korea as well as for World War II. Veterans represented many communities throughout western Nevada, including Carson City, Washoe Valley, Dayton and Gardnerville. The retired law enforcement officers on the trip who served in the military also saw a memorial dedicated to their profession. The veterans also visited Arlington National Cemetery where two veterans placed a wreath at the U.S. Air Force Memorial.
On the second day, the veterans had lunch at the Iwo Jima Memorial.
Lorraine and Darl Clark of Dayton were moved with the memorials and the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.

Darl and Lorraine Clark of Dayton, Army veterans, visit one of the memorials on their second day of an Honor Flight Nevada trip to Washington, D.C. (Photo: Steve Ranson/LVN)

 “This was absolutely incredible. I’ve never been to Washington, D.C., before,” Lorraine Clark said. “I don’t think we could manage on our own. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to come here and see everything.”Lorraine Clark served in the U.S. Army for two years during the Vietnam War including at NATO headquarters in Belgium.

Darl Clark spent four years in the U.S. Marine Corps followed by 16 years in the Army before he retired.
“It took some time to get used to the Army,” he said, grinning.
The Vietnam War veteran said he was at a loss for words to describe the trip to the various memorials beginning with the Navy Memorial on the first day.
“This is just so fabulous,” he said.
Darl Clark said he’s proud to be a veteran, and if he were young again, he’d enlist.
As the Clarks toured the memorials with the other veterans, she remembered a story from her tour at NATO headquarters. She smiled before telling it. During the graveyard shift, Clark and a German soldier were talking about how they enlisted.
“I said my dad was in World War II,” the then-21-year-old Clark said.
The German replied, also saying his father served in the same war.
Clark said she asked the soldier where his father was stationed, and he said North Africa.
Clark noted the coincidence.
“I said that’s where my dad was …in North Africa,” Clark responded.
Clark asked the German soldier if he remembers stories from that area including the ones about the slave markets.
“Oh yea, my father talked about those places,” the soldier said.
Clark said the two soldiers then realized their fathers were there at the same time but as enemies.
“This is a story we can both tell our children,” Clark told him.

A jacket from Danang was left at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. (Photo: Steve Ranson/LVN)

 Other veterans on the Honor Flight enjoyed the different aspects of the trip. Len Rothman of Dayton, who was in the U.S. Air Force 1951-55, spent most of his military time as a clerk in Guam and also New Mexico.“We had an USO overseas,” Rothman remembered. “The women’s barrack was also guarded.”

During the whirlwind trip, Rothman said he enjoyed meeting the veterans, yet he didn’t know the others from Dayton.
Robert Simonds of Carson City also served in the Air Force. He was a mechanic aboard a C-97 during the Korean War.
“I kept the bird up,” he said of his time as a mechanic. “It was one hell of a challenge.”
The Wisconsin native said he was proud to serve in the military.
Simonds said the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial caught his eye. He was impressed with the words Roosevelt wrote.
Navy veteran Jack Weddle was intrigued with the Korean War Memorial. As a young sailor, he was assigned to the light cruiser USS Manchester. Bombardments from the Manchester supported both the Marines and Army.
“We worried about mines floating on the Yahu River,” he said.
Carl Kurashewich, a Marine veteran, grew up in Lancaster, Calif., but now lives in Dayton. He spent some time at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial or more commonly referred to as the Vietnam Wall.
“I was looking for a friend, Doug Allen’s brother. Doug and I grew up in Lancaster.”
Kurashewich said he never wanted to come to the wall because he was scared.
“I’m OK,” he said.
Vietnam era veteran Duncan Lee was sent to West Germany as a young soldier. A journalism graduate from the University of Missouri, Lee grew up in Lexington.
Lee did his basic training at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and served from 1966-69. He left the military as a Spec. 5. He used the photographic skills from the Army in his civilian life, writing and photographing subjects, including auto racing.

Veterans have their images reflected in a pool at the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial. (Photo: Steve Ranson/LVN)


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