(KMOV.com) - When Army Specialist Tom Haney finally got the chance to see the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington DC, he learned what happened to some of his fellow soldiers.
The 72-year-old was able to go on a Greater St. Louis Honor Flight, which resumed in late August after a hiatus due to COVID-19. Haney was positioned in the middle of the flag folding ceremony right in front of the Lincoln Memorial. As the most decorated veteran on the flight, he was handed the sacred American flag.
The pandemic stalled efforts to take veterans to Washington D.C. to see their memorials for more than a year, but Tuesday, News 4's Laura Hettiger was there to tell the story of the flights returning, and the servicemembers who are forever grateful.
Haney received a Bronze Star, Silver Star and Purple Heart for his service in Vietnam. He said visiting the Vietnam Memorial took back to the 18 months he spend in Vietnam.
"I really just thought about how close I came to death. I got the Purple Heart, but it pans out to I'm looking more at heroes, they are my heroes," he said.
Haney saw more of his heroes represented as he took in the changing of the guard ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. He also saw the 400,000 headstones at Arlington National Cemetery. The Greater St. Louis Honor Flight honored Haney and 57 other veterans on that day.
If you would like to make a donation or register a veteran to go on an honor flight, click here.