IDA GROVE, Iowa, Sept. 26, 2017 — It was “a wonderful, blessed day,” photographer and U.S. Air Force veteran Don Poggensee, says of an Honor Flight that he and about 160 other old soldiers were given to the national monuments on Saturday, Sept. 16. “Like myself, many had never seen the monuments and memorials to those who served in our country’s different wars.”
Flying from Fort Dodge, the contingent landed at Dulles International Airport, where they were met by a large crowd of people “eager to welcome us to our nation’s capital, and they gave us heartfelt thanks for our service to the country,” Poggensee said. “I have never experienced such an outpouring of gratitude by so many people though an entire day.”
He noted it’s been 49 years since his own discharge from the Air Force, in late May, 1968. “That was during the time of civil unrest and demonstrations all across our country against the Vietnam War,” he said. “Like many, I felt the need to get my uniform off as soon as I could to avoid the anger of many protestors. It indeed was a sad chapter in our country at that time, but thank God that has changed for soldiers returning from service today.”
You can experience some of what they saw in Poggensee’s photos below here.
Don Poggensee at “The Wall” of the Vietnam War Memorial.
Part of the welcome the veterans received at Dulles International Airport outside Washington, D.C.
A visit to Arlington National Cemetery.
A close-up view of the “Changing of the Guard” ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.
Part of the World War II Memorial.
Poggensee at the Iowa monument that is part of the World War II Memorial.
The memorial to President Franklin D. Roosevelt also recalls the president’s famous little dog “Fala.”
The almost haunting Korean War Memorial.
A close-up of part of the Vietnam War Memorial.
A visit to the Lincoln Memorial.
Part of the towering Air Force Memorial.
Lowering the flag at Arlington National Cemetery.
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