A Special Memorial Day Weekend for Some of Utah’s Veterans

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – Twenty-five of Utah’s veterans from various wars are back from a trip to Washington, D.C. where they visited the memorials raised in their honor for their selfless sacrifice and patriotism to our country.

Family and friends, some signs in hand, anxiously waited for their veteran to arrive at the Salt Lake International Airport. Each veteran was welcomed back to loud cheers, hugs and kisses.

“I wasn’t prepared for how special it was going to be,” Lamar Hirsche told Abc4 Utah, a Vietnam Veteran.

Recalling the trip, Hirsche said, “There was a group of school kids that were there {Washington, D.C.} and every one of them came up and wanted pictures with us and shook our hands. And then, this right here just tops it off with these people that have come down here today. It has been absolutely wonderful.”

Escorted by the Patriot Guard, the veterans made their way to the Utah National Guard Readiness Center, where additional family members were waiting to thank them for their honor, courage and sacrifice.

“I don’t feel like a hero. I’m just somebody that did their job,” explained Grant Casper, World War II Veteran. “The real heroes didn’t come home or they came home wounded. That’s who I represent tonight.”

Casper might not consider himself to be a hero, but his family thinks otherwise.

“He’s a hero to me. I was fortunate because my dad came home and I had a chance to know my dad and grow up with my dad. Whereas a lot of the children they just hear the stories of their fathers, they never had a chance to know their fathers,” Jeral Casper, Grant’s son.

After all of these years, this group of veterans finally received recognition for their service.

“It was fabulous,” Casper said, smiling from ear to ear.

“I can’t even express how special this has been,” added Hirsche.

The average costs to send just one veteran on the Honor Flight runs around $1,000 and there has been an increase in veteran applications to go on the flight. If you’d like to help you can log on to the Utah Honor Flight website to donate.

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