• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
1m 26s

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.

 

Latest Stories

  • Sports

    Round one of the Great Alaska Shootout wraps up

    by KTVA Sports on Nov 27, 22:50

    The first round of the GCI Great Alaska Shootout finished up Thursday night with a pair of men’s games. Rice vs. Mercer The early evening game between Rice and Mercer looked to be a blowout when Mercer started the second half on an 11-1 run, taking a commanding 44-29 lead. But Rice battled back, thanks […]

  • News

    Injured Iditarod musher must take year off, expects to race again

    by Kate McPherson on Nov 27, 18:02

    Musher Karin Hendrickson remembers everything about Tuesday night when a car crashed into her and her dog team near Mile 91 of the Parks Highway. “I had 14 dogs hooked up to a four-wheeler, we are still running four-wheelers because there’s not enough snow,” said Hendrickson, who was travelling south on a trail just a […]

  • News

    2 injured in small plane crash near Cook Inlet

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Nov 27, 15:05

    Two people were injured in a small plane crash on the west side of Cook Inlet Thursday, authorities say. The plane, which had lost engine power, went down across the inlet from Nikiski and hit an embankment, according to the National Transportation Safety Board and Central Emergency Services. A helicopter was sent to retrieve the […]

  • Crime

    Mother sentenced for Kenai parking lot shooting

    by Associated Press on Nov 27, 13:10

    A mother who fired shots at a car in a Kenai parking lot has been sentenced to seven years in prison. Kenai police say Ashley Nelund opened fired on a 17-year-old boy and another person driving a car outside the Kenai Walmart last year. She approached them saying she was owed money. Nelund told police […]

  • News

    North Pole sues over oil refinery contamination

    by Associated Press on Nov 27, 12:10

    The city of North Pole is suing two recent owners of an oil refinery over groundwater pollution. The lawsuit blames current refinery owner Flint Hills Alaska Resources and previous owner Williams Alaska Petroleum for releasing hazardous substances into the groundwater beneath the refinery. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (http://ow.ly/F03JX) reports the lawsuit filed Wednesday identifies sulfolane as […]

  • News

    Lights back on in Talkeetna after wanted man strikes power pole

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Nov 27, 11:35

    Update: 1 p.m. Power should be restored to the area, MEA says. “Thanks to our linemen and dispatchers who gave up their holiday today,” the company wrote on Facebook. “We hope everyone has a happy and safe Thanksgiving!” Original story Some Talkeetna residents might be celebrating part of their Thanksgiving holiday in the dark after […]

  • Politics

    Anchorage Assembly passes $472M budget for 2015

    by Emily Carlson on Nov 27, 9:27

    The Anchorage Assembly passed the municipality’s 2015 budget Wednesday afternoon, but not before some debate on whether to cut additional staff and a surprise tennis court proposal. The $472 million budget passed unanimously in a two-hour special meeting. It’s a little more than $2 million over what Mayor Dan Sullivan proposed in October. The mayor […]

  • News

    Thanksgiving travel tales from the Anchorage airport

    by Kate McPherson on Nov 27, 8:02

    Spending Thanksgiving with loved ones isn’t possible for everyone. But for others, taking a flight or two is all it takes to get the family together. At the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport on Wednesday night, 2-year-old Rachael waited patiently for her dad to come home from the North Slope. Her mom, Melissa Chapman, is happy that […]