Trip was unforgettable for local vet

I was in a group on the Honor Flight on May 27. At Toledo Express Airport, we received a wonderful
greeting by Dee Pakulski, president of Honor Flight. What a wonderful day for us all.
My brother Floyd, myself, Ned Zeigler and Mark Welker, all from American Legion Post 335, thoroughly
enjoyed the whole experience. None of us had ever been to D.C. to see the memorials.
I remember saying to my brothers about our trip to the memorial, "I’m so tickled. This will be a
real treat for all of us here today."
During World War II, Mom and Dad had a four-star banner in our home in Reynolds Corner. Floyd joined the
Air Force in July, 1940; Roy was in the first Toledo area draft and was in the 27th Infantry Division;
Donald joined the 38th Infantry Division and was killed near Manila, Philippines, two months before the
war with Japan ended.
After getting home on Dec. 28, 1945, and attending the Toledo University, I worked for Haughton Elevator
then 30 years with Libbey-Owens-Ford and retiring as plant engineer at the East Broadway Plant. Nancy
and I have four children and 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
After retiring, I did consulting electrical engineering work around the U.S. for 10 years.
To experience the landing at Dulles Airport for Honor Flight, bused to the World War II Memorial and the
stroll through it has been a memorable experience for us all. First, the individual state memorials, 50
of them; then the "Star Formations" of gold stars on a blue background really made me think
"Freedom in our country is not free." Each star represents 4,000 men or women and 1,000 are
displayed. My brother Don is represented. His airplane crash and death are still with all of us.
I joined the Army Engineers in Detroit, went through training and was assigned to an engineer outfit. I
was sent to England and Normandy, France, in the 1303rd Engineer Battalion, 12th Corps, 3rd Army with
Gen. Patton, and on through five battle stars, including the Bulge. I got to Pilzon, Czechoslovakia,
developed diphtheria, and was hospitalized in Paris, then assigned to the 315th Combat Engineers ready
to go to fight the Japanese, when the war ended. It seems that I lost track of 120 brothers when I got
hospitalized. We did a lot of things together.
I find it rather strange that a lot of the scenes, events, places and memories in detail have come back
in the last two or three years. I never told anyone or discussed details of World War II with my friends
or family until recently. The bad and the good are becoming topics in occasional friendly get-togethers.

We had lunch at the WWII Memorial in a tent, and afterwards walked to the World War I Memorial, Korean
Memorial, Vietnam Memorial and the Nurses’ Memorial. After a short break we got bused to Dulles, flew
home and had a memorable party in the hangar that we’ll never forget.
(Norman Rasmusson is an 86-year-old veteran residing in Perrysburg Township.)