Upper Peninsula Honor Flight Mission XX shows comradery

U.P. veterans watch 'the changing of the guard'
U.P. veterans watch 'the changing of the guard'(WLUC)
Published: Sep. 30, 2022 at 12:07 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON D.C., Wash. (WLUC) -78 veterans from the U.P. toured war memorials built in their honor Wednesday while sharing the experience with new connections and rekindling old friendships.

Over the past 11 years, U.P. Honor Flights have allowed hundreds of veterans to pay tribute to brothers and sisters through visits to different war memorials; With this, also comes comradery; which rang true on Mission XX.

“You don’t have to be alone,” said Alan Filizetti, a U.S. Navy Vietnam Veteran.

It’s a good reminder from Filizetti, who was born and raised in Marquette and now lives in Gwinn. Filizetti explained he has been on the waiting list for the Upper Peninsula Honor Flight for three years.

“I’ve been able to connect with some people from the flight that I’ve known for years, but I haven’t seen them for years either,” he added.

Those veterans, then sat side by side, at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the Arlington National Cemetery. It is a memorial Filizetti has never seen during his other trips to Washington D.C., which made this one special.

“Just watching the precision, I mean how well coordinated they are, especially when the 3 of them are changing the guard. How everything just interconnects, and everything is so perfect,” said Filizetti.

The changing of the guard takes place 24 hours a day, every day since 1937. It shows teamwork, brotherhood, and the reminder that someone will have your back, just like in the service.

The comradery of the service is why Filizetti joined the U.S. National Guard. From there he joined the U.S. Navy.

“When I went to the Navy Memorial, just seeing some of the memorabilia there, the different ships, the older ships. It just brought a lot back to the time I spent in the Navy,” he explained.

When his time in Vietnam ended, Filizetti continued to serve in the National Guard and retired in 1992.

The service runs deep in the Flizetti family. Al’s youngest son has been a major with the Corps of Engineers for just under 20 years. He is currently stationed at Ft. Louis in Washington.

“Very proud. He did 3 tours one in Iraq and two in Afghanistan.”

No matter what state veterans or active duty members are from, Washington D.C. and the Upper Peninsula Honor Flight Mission 20 allowed them to connect with others while at the memorials.