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Honor Flight veterans recall war experiences at memorial

Reported by: Jessica Moore
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Updated: 7/18/2013 2:00 pm
WASHINGTON (KSNV MyNews3) -- Bright and early Saturday morning, a police escort ushered Nevada's 35 World War II veterans into the heart of Washington D.C. to visit their memorial for the very first time.

Sunlight danced off 4,048 Bronze Stars, each representing Americans killed or missing in World War II. Among them, Erwin Flack’s brother, who may be gone but is not forgotten.

Coming Wednesday: Returning to Las Vegas, the adventure continues. On News 3 Nightly at 6.
As an infantryman, Jerry Countess earned a Purple Heart for saving a fellow soldier's life in a bayonet attack in North Africa.

“Incredible. Who would've thought of this?” he said. “I never would've dreamed of this, but of course when you're fighting you don't dream.”

Countess considers this trip "long awaited understanding" of a life he says the outside world just can't comprehend.

“You spend three days in a foxhole, and it's your restaurant, your latrine, your everything,” Countess said. “How are you supposed to tell anyone you experienced that? You don't. It's not part of everyday life, and it's not just me, it's every single guy who did it. Ten thousand guys did that.

“And you come home and everyone's like, ‘You're a soldier! Oh, great! How wonderful!’ How do you tell them what you did?”

At the Marine Corps Memorial, Rudy Morage opened up about why he considers this place sacred ground.

“Memories ... real sad memories ... but I'm OK though,” Morage said.

Morage survived a kamikaze attack on his ship docked at Iwo Jima. Two days later, he watched as Marines stormed the shores and raised the American flag.

“All other survivors and I were all watching, and we saw two flags go up and we hugged each other and said, ‘We're going home!’ “ Morage recalled.

From the Vietnam Wall to the Korean and Air Force memorials, every stop was wrought with emotion and brimming with excitement, and capped off by plenty of surprises along the way.

To make a donation, call (775) 323-9955 or visit Honor Flight's website.
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