• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
1m 32s

Memorials bring emotional memories to Alaska Honor Flight veterans

By Joe Vigil 8:07 AM May 9, 2014
WASHINGTON, D.C. –

More than 70 years after World War II, Wasilla veteran Eldon Gallear continues to wonder why people are so thankful.

“People have been great,” he said, visiting war memorials in Washington, D.C. with the other Alaska veterans of the 2014 Honor Flight. “Man, I never expected anything like that from the people.”

Gallear and other Alaskans who left their jobs and families to fight for freedom cherished the day they’ve been waiting decades for: The new World War II Memorial in the nation’s capital is only ten years old.

But as the Honor Flight tour continued over to Arlington National Cemetery, things changed for Gallear. All those headstones — nearly 420,000 of them — struck a deep chord for the veteran.

“When I see all those gravestones boy, I don’t know,” he said.

While Gallear’s friends watched the somber ceremony of the guard protecting the Tomb of the Unknown Solider, he stayed behind.

“I just didn’t feel like going to the memorial up there knowing what that forgotten soldier was.”

So there he sat, on the bus, thinking about the enemy sinking his ship and sending him into the water in 1944.

“And when you lose a ship and you lose your buddies, it isn’t exactly easy,” Gallear said.

On the bus, he also thought about a child.

“One little girl in grade school asked me if I’d ever been scared. And I says, ‘Yes, twice,’” Gallear said. “Once in the South China Sea in a typhoon. And the other time on a life raft when sharks were bumping it trying to roll me off so they could kill me bite by bite.”

And Gallear wonders why people make such a fuss about veterans of the greatest generation.

To contribute to the Last Frontier Honor Flight program, visit their website.

Latest Stories

  • News

    Combating heroin on the Kenai: The Soldotna survivor

    by Sierra Starks on May 24, 19:14

    Tammi Charlesworth passes by the Hiland Mountain Correctional Center on her drive to work six days a week. The 35-year-old spent about two years there, serving time on a forgery charge. “I stole from my dad,” said Charlesworth. “And he turned me in, hoping to save my life.” Prior to her time at Hiland, she […]

  • News

    How to identify an unmarked law enforcement vehicle

    by Alexis Fernandez on May 24, 19:07

    A driver the Anchorage Police Department initially thought was pretending to be a police officer turned out to be a federal law enforcement agent in an unmarked SUV. It took APD three days to figure out the SUV belongs to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) because it didn’t pop up in […]

  • News

    Anchorage, Sitka Cooperative Extension Service offices to close

    by Shannon Ballard on May 24, 18:34

    The University of Alaska Fairbanks plans to shut down two of its Cooperative Extension Service Offices. UAF officials say the Sitka and Anchorage offices will close by the end of October. The cooperative extensions around the Alaska rely heavily on state funding and the program is about to be hit with a $1 million cut. The […]

  • News

    Annual plant sale underway at Hiland Mountain Correctional Center

    by Lauren Maxwell on May 24, 17:48

    It’s a plant sale some people wait all year for: the annual Hiland Mountain Correctional Center plant sale started Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. but prison officials say cars were lining up much earlier than that. The sale is a chance for female inmates to show off what they’ve been growing all year in the […]

  • Crime

    Hydaburg VPSO saves family from ax attack

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 24, 16:33

    Alaska State Troopers say a Village Public Safety Officer single handedly stopped an ax attack in Hydaburg and took the suspect into custody early Monday morning. The VPSO responded to a home around 6:30 a.m. after receiving a report that an intoxicated 51-year-old Richard Carle had used an ax to break down the front door […]

  • News

    AST suspends Eklutna Lake search for missing kayaker

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 24, 14:44

    After shutting down the pump for the Municipality of Anchorage water supply intake, Alaska State Troopers stated Tuesday they were not able to find any evidence of a kayaker that went missing in Eklutna Lake on May 16, leading to a suspension of the search. The kayaker, 20-year-old Robert Brown of Texas, was reported missing near the […]

  • DayBreak

    Anchorage doctor, son raise awareness for cancer care by climbing Kilimanjaro

    by Daybreak Staff on May 24, 12:11

    An Anchorage cancer doctor and his son are headed to Africa this week to summit Mount Kilimanjaro. The trip is part of a volunteer effort called “Radiating Hope,” which works to improve cancer care in developing countries. Friday, Dr. Larry Daughtery, with Alaska Cancer Treatment Center, and his son, Calvin, will fly to Tanzania with […]

  • On-Air

    Fibromuscular dysplasia: Mysterious disease in women

    by Ivanhoe Newswire on May 24, 7:30

    Fibromuscular dysplasia, or FMD for short, is up to ten times more common in women than in men. But it’s often overlooked because patients and their doctors have a hard time identifying the symptoms. Here’s what you need to know about this rare and mysterious disease. Nurse Mary Lou Lucas has spent her career helping […]