Verle Swanson takes Honor Flight to Washington DC

Verle Swenson meets his family members at Mitchell Airport after taking part in an Honor Flight. /Linda Valentine photo

Note: Thanks to Linda Valentine for this info and use of her photos. — DH

Verle R. Swenson, of Camp Lake was on the Sept. 15 Honor Flight from Milwaukee to Washington DC to see the WWII monument.

Swenson served on the USS Montauk in WWII, then was in the Korean War and was on board the Osprey (AMS 28, minesweeper). During this time his son was born and he did not get to see him until 9 months after he was born. After the war, Verle was in the Naval Reserves on Lake Michigan, Kenosha. He was married to Dorothy, who has passed from us . He lives in the little yellow house that was originally part of the family (ORVIS) farm (Now Salvation Army) on ORVIS LANE (93rd) in Camp Lake where they raised their family. Verle continues to participate in American Legion events and regularly makes music at the Hall and (weekly) at the Moose Lodge in Antioch.

The Stars and Stripes Honor Flight was started by Joe Dean who was present all during the event and in many of the images. Stars and Stripesd Honor Flight flys WWII veterans and terminally ill veterans from other wars to see their memorials in Washington, DC. They also work closely with schools throughout Wisconsin to ensure that the heroic stories of our veterans are built into the curriculum so that future generations will fully appreciate the sacrifices made on their behalf.

Here is Salem resident Linda Valentine’s account of the scene at Mitchel Airport as Swenson and many other veterans returned from their flight.

We arrived at 7pm as instructed and people were found to be lining both sides of the main walkway on the C Concourse where the shops are located. The crowd grew and in some places 10 deep, others 5 deep. Many lawn chairs were marking places and many were filled with smiling people. Throughout the time, volunteers walked and talked with us and others carried signs to keep us posted of arrival times. Groups mingled: There was music and some took the time to make their banners. Others watched a football game on the big screens. The coffee shop and ice cream shops were busy. When the time came for the parade, it was without fanfare but the place erupted with cheers and whistles; cowbells and horns. There were 109 veterans on this flight. Their day started at 4:30am at the airport on Friday. Each Vet came through the parade route shaking hands and smiling and thanking us. Some had a companion pushing their wheelchair. All had smiles. Every once in a while a big cheer went up along the route as a group spotted their own Honor Member. The parade lasted until about 10:15 pm and the signal that all the vets had passed through the audience was a large contingent of Bagpipers! Their sound filled the hall with military songs. Audience and Vet had smiles. This was an absolutely wonderful experience and we were all glad to have had the chance to experience this. It was made even better knowing that a friend was in the Honor Parade. Our friend was Verle Swenson of Camp Lake, although I understand that there was another person on board from Kenosha. For this parade, all the vets were our friends! I encourage anyone who has a parent who was in WWII to look at the Stars and Stripes Honor Fight application. You would be giving your parent a true honor. I understand that there are two upcoming flights in November!

/Linda Valentine photo

The Verle Swenson contingent awaits their vet’s arrival. /Linda Valentine photo

Members of the Silver Lake American Legion Auxiliary were there. /Linda Valentine photo

/Linda Valentine photo

Verle Swenson /Linda Valentine photo

A street meet in Camp Lake on Sept. 17 in Verle Swenson’s honor. /Linda Valentine photo


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