WWII veteran takes Honor Flight with Vietnam vet nephew

Published: Apr. 25, 2017 at 3:14 PM CDT
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Eighty-four veterans from Eastern Iowa arrived in Washington Tuesday. It wasn't the prettiest day, but then again, war isn’t pretty.

“A lot of homes [were] broken with people having to go," explained Mildred Fritz of Manchester, Iowa.

Fritz was an Army nurse who was stationed in Amarillo, Texas during World War II.

“I was a nurse doing private duty, and when the war broke out, they were forming a unit to go, so I joined them," she said. "I worked on the wards where I took care of the people and in town where we took care of the families.”

More than 70 years after the war ended, Fritz is visiting Washington for the first time on the Eastern Iowa Honor Flight – touring the memorials with her nephew, Ken Heiserman.

“It’s special because he lives away from me, but he came to take me along, so that’s great," said Fritz.

“This is my last remaining aunt, and I wanted to make sure she enjoyed it," said an emotional Heiserman.

Heiserman shares something in common with his aunt – he’s a vet too. He was a Navy pilot during Vietnam.

“It brings back a lot of memories of all the folks gave their lives and were there," he said.

Each veteran has a story from their past. As they return home, they bring back new stories to share.

“A lot of nice memories, but not the rain!" Fritz joked.

In total, 84 veterans are this Honor Flight: four from WWII, 28 from the Korean War, and 52 from Vietnam. The next flight is scheduled for next month.

For more information on the Eastern Iowa Honor Flight, click "related links."