HEROES FLIGHT: An emotional first day for the veterans

“It almost made me cry. Almost 40 Korean people came and shook hands with me,” one veteran said.
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Published: Oct. 17, 2019 at 11:08 PM CDT
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(KLTV) - A group of East Texas veterans are resting up after their first day on the Brookshire’s Heroes Flight.

One of the veterans provided a soundtrack, so to speak, for the trip, when he pulled out a harmonica. Longview’s Joe Ramirez has been playing harmonica a long time.

“I’ve been playing it since I was a Boy Scout in Mission, Texas. Troop 20. My whole scout troop had harmonicas,” Ramirez said.

Everywhere the veterans went on day one, Joe was there, and so was his harmonica. But his music paused for a short time at the Korean War Memorial.

“When we walked, we weren’t walking. We were skip sliding. We didn’t see any dust, any soil, any roads. We just saw black ice,” he recalled.

The navy veteran says these lifelike monuments bring back memories of the bitter cold and wetness.

“If you can believe it, we were on on good will cruise. That’s what they called it. We went all over the Pacific Ocean. Singapore, The Philippines, Manila, Japan,” he said.

At one point, Joe and the other Korean war veterans were met with handshake after handshake as their service and sacrifice were recognized.

“It almost made me cry. Almost 40 Korean people came and shook hands with me,” Ramirez said.

Not long after that, the harmonica came out once again, as Joe sat alongside his fellow heroes from the war they thought everyone had forgotten about.

HEROES FLIGHT: Tears, gratitude at the Korean and Vietnam war memorials

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