Last month’s Northeast Wisconsin Old Glory Honor Flight included a local resident and her father.
Allyce Lees was on the April 11 flight with her father, Dr. R.E. (Gene) Arneson.
The Northeast Wisconsin Old Glory Honor Flight organizes trips for World War II veterans to visit memorials in Washington, D.C., including the World War II Memorial.
Last month’s trip was Mission 17 for the group.
“We had a nice opportunity at each stop to see and appreciate everything. It couldn’t have been a more perfect day,” Lees said.
Arneson, 86, was 17 years old when he was called up in 1945, she said.
Her father served four years in the U.S. Marine Corps.
He served at bases in Virginia and in Puerto Rico, eventually becoming one of seven men selected from the U.S. Marine Corps to serve in Secret Service Detail, Lees said.
“Dad says, ‘They told us not to talk for 35 years, and I’m still not talking,'” she said.
Arneson was discharged in 1949 and was then in the Marine Corps Reserves followed by the Air Force ROTC, she said.
“That veterans bill helped him thrugh veterinary school,” Lees said.
Arneson grew up on a farm and dedicated his life to treating animals, his daughter said.
Her father worked well into his 70s before retiring and moving from North Dakota to Wisconsin to be near his family.
“During a visit to the VA, he was approached by an organizer of the flight,” Lees said of the Old Glory Honor Flight group. “That was last year. He got on the list.”
Arneson had been to Washington, D.C. in the past, but the World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War memorials were not there at that time, she said.
On April 11, Lees and her father left on a 5:30 a.m. flight out of Outagamie County Regional Airport.
“It was so organized,” she said. “To share this day there, seeing all that was really wonderful.”
Their visit to the World War II Memorial was long of the longer stops that day, Lees said.
“It is somber to recognize the sacrifice that was made. It was a day of awe and wonder,” she said.
Lees listened to the many stories shared throughout the day and remarked on the involvement of active members of the military throughout that day.
“The reflection at each memorial – you thought a little differently at each one and what it stood for,” she said. “We had a nice opportunity at each stop to see and appreciate everything.
Her father spent almost an hour reading the many letters he received during “mail call.”
They appreciated the hundreds of people who greeted them at the airport when they returned to the state around 9 p.m. that day.
“We saw everything on the trip,” Lees said. “It was a great day. It was a perfect day.”