By BARBARA HOLLSTEIN
Jim Bacon and Earl Ferguson, Korean War veterans from Fayette, joined others from Northwest Ohio May 22 for an Honor Flight trip.
The Honor Flight program is a non-profit organization that flies veterans to the nation’s capital to see the war monuments and other sites, all free of charge.
Since the flights started in 2005, first priority was given to World War II veterans. Now in its ninth year, the program is including veterans of other wars. Honor Flight's goal is to eventually provide the opportunity for veterans of all wars to visit Washington.
Earl and Jim said they recognized a few of the others vets on the trip, including one that Earl hadn't spoken with since the 1970s.
Both men were impressed with the memorials, and the Korean War Monument in particular. Statues of soldiers are sculpted with "lifelike features."
School groups visiting the war memorials were excited to meet the Honor Flight veterans, and Earl and Jim were asked by several individuals to have a photo taken with them.
The long day wrapped up back at Toledo Express Airport where a welcome party made up of well-wishers and a band met the travelers.
While Earl hadn't flown in a plane since 1985, flying is something that Jim is very familiar with, as his service in the Korean War was with the Air Force.
Jim joined the Air Force at the start of the war, serving from 1951 to 1952, right after he graduated from high school in Fayette. Jim flew reconnoissance flights to study damage following military action.
While Jim entered the service at the start of the war, Earl came in at the end. He served right after graduation from high school as well, from 1957 to 1958 in the Army. Earl was stationed in the port city of Inchon "where everyone came in off the ship." His job was to make sure a variety of supplies were distributed to soldiers.
Before last month, neither Jim nor Earl had seen the Korean monument dedicated to their service. One more plane load of veterans has now made the trip to visit the monuments constructed in their honor.