Rolland "Wally" Walline - Navy Combat Veteran
I am a proud US Navy WWII Combat Veteran. On Feb. 21, 2012, after my wife and I had enjoyed a wonderful concert by the Air Force Band at the COC performing Arts Center, we stopped in the lobby to thank a Marine Corps veteran for his service.
Soon after I received a call from the same Marine, Dick Jeffrey, asking if I would like to visit my WWII Memorial in Washington, DC. I was surprised, amazed, honored ... of course "YES" was my immediate answer.
On October 16th of 2012 off we went. My first surprise came immediately as we were exited to plane in DC, where we were greeted by a local photographer. Dana Rene, taking our photos ... Wow!
The next day more surprises and a great honor. Dick Jeffrey had arranged for the four of us to place a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Tears in my eyes, hands shaking and my heart racing, I thought to myself how great it was to be an American and to have served in WWII.
As we visited our WWII Memorial and others, I was overwhelmed by the emotions I felt and by the hundreds of kids, adults and R.O.T.C. members that thanked us for our service, took time to speak with us and asked to take our pictures. What a warm feeling came over me! With folks like this our great country would always be OK!
Then upon arriving back home, the American Airlines Pilot suddenly announced that there were a group of WWII veterans aboard and thanked us for flying with them. All the passengers stood up and applauded for us. I cannot begin to tell you how proud it made all of us feel.
I want to thank Dick Jeffrey, Dana Rene and the entire team at Back to the War Zone for allowing me to experience such a wonderful trip.
Otto Werner - Navy Combat Veteran
I was very surprised and happy to be selected for a flight and memorial tour of Washington, DC in mid October. When I was notified that I was actually going, I felt excited and honored to be selected as part of such a very humbling experience.
The entire trip was very wonderful, well planned and a true blessing. We were able to see all the Memorials and most of the main sights in the Capital.
The incredible ceremony and fantastic honor of pacing a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier could not have been more inspiring. I will never forget it. It's hard to describe the emotions I felt as we personally paid tribute to all of our fellow and fallen veterans and buddies.
Our National World War II Memorial was particularly meaningful, spectacular and brought back memories from days and relationships gone by. It honored all of us who served.
Also seeing and meeting all of the other veterans, young people and adults say "Thank you for your service" gave me a feeling of great pride, gratitude and camaraderie.
My fellow veteran and buddy Wally Walline, fellow WWII Veteran Emmett "Rosy" Nolan and his daughter Linda are truly special people and made the trip even more enjoyable. I also want to thank all those who sponsored their money and volunteered their time for the trip.
A special thanks to our host Dick Jeffrey for making it all come true and to Dana Rene, our super photographer, for recording the most wonderful trip I've ever taken.