Old Guard Soldiers welcome Honor Flight Ohio
November 9, 2012
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JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. (Nov. 9, 2012) -- Soldiers of the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) gathered in Washington, D.C., to welcome Honor Flight Ohio to the World War II Memorial, Oct. 20.
The Honor Flight Network is a non-profit organization which transports veterans of past wars to their respective memorials in Washington, D.C.
"I'm very honored to be out here to spend time with these veterans," said Spc. Parker Myers, infantryman, Honor Guard Company. "They have done more than I could ever imagine. It's a sobering experience."
Myers, a native of Wauseon, Ohio, added it was especially touching since these veterans were from his home state.
For many of the veterans, it was their first time visiting the memorial since returning home from the war.
"It's breathtaking," said Ernie Ratterman, who served as a military police officer in World War II. "I'm very glad that the Soldiers were here to welcome us."
During their visit, Old Guard Soldiers laid a wreath to commemorate the veterans' service. They also participated in a flag folding ceremony to honor a World War II veteran who never made it home from the war.
"This flag was the original flag that was folded at his funeral in the 1940s," said Sgt. Jonathan Thoits, infantryman, Honor Guard Company. "It meant a lot for me to be able to fold his flag here because he fought and died for our country in this war and he will never be able to see this memorial."
Gene Imber, who served in the Korean War, was moved to tears as he described what it meant to see the Soldiers honor a fallen comrade.
"It meant a lot," said Gene Imber, before losing his words as he was overcome with emotion.
Imber visited the memorial with his twin brother Dean Imber, who also served in the Korean War. The Imbers agreed seeing the Old Guard's presence there was humbling.
"I'm glad we have not been forgotten," said Gene Imber.