Westlake Veteran Takes the Honor Flight

Honor Flight took veterans to Washington, D.C. for the Veteran’s Day season. Hank Harris is in the first row, second from the right.

Westlake VietNam War veteran Hank Harris had an unforgettable experience this Veteran’s Day season by taking the Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. to visit the nation’s wartime monuments.

The Honor Flight Network recognizes American veterans for their sacrifices and achievements by flying them to Washington, D.C. to see THEIR memorial at no cost. Top priority is given to World War II and terminally ill veterans from all wars. Honor Flight Network includes Korean War and Vietnam War veterans.

“I was selected for the VietNam Veterans-sponsored Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. on Sat., Nov. 4. Along with two other local veterans, Jim Dacek of Brooklyn and Lour Butcher of Parma.

“We were honored and thankful to finally pay tribute and respect to our fallen comrades who sacrificed their lives for our freedom and this country,” said Harris. “God Bless them forever!”

Harris said the trip, which originated in Cleveland, took about 28 veterans to Baltimore, where they hopped a tour bus and rode their way into D.C “It was unbelievable, the welcome we got!” said Harris. “Fire boats met us with cascades of water and the roadway from Baltimore was lined by saluting people,” said Harris. “A lot different from when I returned from VietNam!”

Hank Harris during his military service

Harris served in VietNam as a sergeant with the 63rd Armored Battalion. He served in VietNam as a tank operator for 10 months, clearing jungle.

“It was just an unforgettable trip, but I was very tired at the end!” said Harris, a 1959 Lakewood High grad. “We left at 4 in the morning and got back at about 11 that night. You do the whole trip in one day!”

Harris said it was the experience of a lifetime as his appreciation for the sacrifices made for this country grew ever deeper as the day continued.

To learn more about the Honor Flight Network, visit www.honorflight.org. They have served over 160,000 veterans in 17 years of service.

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