SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – (ABC 4 Utah) – Friends and families gathered to cheer on 50 Utah veterans who returned home today from a three day trip to Washington D.C.
“Today some little girls came up to me and asked me if they could shake my hand and thank me for what I’ve done and gave me a big hug and it was just tremendous,” said George Horton who served in the Philippines, Okinawa, was part of the initial invasion of Japan and hit 15 islands during the war, all at the age of 17.
Memories were shared and new friends were made as these men and women visited memorials they bravely fought for.
“I had some wonderful memories, I can’t remember them all,” said Ralph Emery.
They landed home earlier today and were greeted to a heroes welcome.
“Excellent, today was beautiful,” said Horton.
Family and friends held signs and cheered on as these veterans filed into the Market Building at the Utah Fairgrounds one-by-one. There was no shortage of red, white, and blue as the colors proudly washed over the room. Familieswaved flags and held signs like “Welcome home to the greatest generation,” and “Thank you for your service.”
Among the group were Fred Gunn and Ralph Emery, two men who served in the 475th fighter group, yet had never met until today.
“It’s wonderful, I’m gonna have to get in touch with Fred so we can sit down and talk,” said Emery.
But, these two had years of history to catch up on that they immediately began reminiscing about their time in the war during our interview.
“Do you remember the bombing attack at Clark Air Force Base the first night we were there?” said Gunn.
“Well sure I did, one landed about 100 feet from us,” Emery responded.
Each of the veterans were given a special flag and recognized for their service to the country. And as the sun sets on what is a day they’ll never forget. It’s a reminder to everyone to never forget the brave men and women who protectand serve our country.
“It’s nice that they’ve honored us but we still have to remember all those that are not with us anymore,” said Stirley Pulver.