MOUNT VERNON — The red carpet was once again rolled out for three local World War II veterans last Saturday when the latest edition of the Honor Flight made a trip to Washington, D.C., to honor 79 Ohio veterans with just a small token of appreciation.
“They treated us like we were VIPs,” said Dale Sheffer of Mount Vernon about his experience on the Honor Flight tour. Sheffer was in the European Theater of Operation, being involved in Patton’s 3rd Army in the Battle of the Bulge. He was a wheeled-vehicle and track-laying vehicle mechanic.
The World War II Memorial, Iwo Jima Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Memorial and Korean Memorial were a few of the stops on the one-day Honor Flight trip. Sheffer said his favorite stop was the World War II Memorial. While there, they were greeted by former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole, who is a former wounded World War II veteran. “It was an honor to meet him. We veterans think a lot of Bob Dole,” said Sheffer.
Another memorable part of the tour was when they drove by the Pentagon and saw where a portion of the building had been rebuilt following the 2001 terrorist attack. “You could see where new stones had been put in,” said Sheffer. “Some of these things in our lifetime we would never get to see. It was just outstanding. We were so well taken care of, and it was all so well organized.”
Upon the return to Port Columbus Airport, a huge reception awaited the veterans in the baggage claim area. “That was the crowning thing,” said Sheffer, who was amazed at the crowds of people who came out to greet the veterans with rounds of cheers, handshakes and hugs. “It was quite a surprise. After all these years, it was great to be remembered and respected for the sacrifices we made.”