Soldiers honor UP veterans at Arlington National Cemetery in D.C.

Published: May. 27, 2022 at 2:05 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WLUC) - The U.P. Honor Flight made two special stops at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington D.C. on Wednesday. These memorials are extra special to six of the 77 veterans on the flight.

U.P. Honor Flight veterans received special recognition from the soldiers guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The guards can’t salute the veterans, but they will drag their feet on the ground, honoring their service.

While in Arlington, two women veterans on the Honor Flight were recognized at the Women’s Memorial. Both served at a time when it wasn’t common for women to be in the military.

“We were treated like we had the plague. It’s getting somewhat better because they’re getting used to women in the service, which is good because it wasn’t good for a long time,” said Joan Smith, a Vietnam-era Army veteran.

Their names are now part of the memorial’s registry and both women were presented with a portfolio of their careers.

Also at Arlington, four Navy veterans stopped at the Seabee Memorial. Seabees, or the United States Naval Construction Battalion, builds just about anything, anywhere because Seabees “can do.”

“We built the roads and the buildings and mostly the roads and stuff,” said Larry Kouw, a Navy Seabee veteran from the Vietnam era.

Kouw served as a Seabee from 1967 to 1968. He is still alive today and able to be on the Honor Flight because of a friend who served with him.

“The man took my place on the motor team, and I watched him get blown up,” said Kouw.

Just two weeks later, Kouw escaped another explosion.

“I ran out, dove into my motor hole and I didn’t even get to the bottom of my motor hole. The next round, a direct hit in the tent I was just standing in,” he said. Kouw got out with just a scrape on his leg.

These sacrifices make our veterans deserving of recognition from the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers. The guard’s routine is perfect but altered just a bit to honor our veterans’ service.

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