CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - It's a war that often gets overlooked.
“Well, it's the forgotten war,” said Korean War veteran Marvin McCabe said.
McCabe deployed to Korea when he was just 17. Then, he went to Vietnam.
“We were coming out to be evacuated and that's where I picked my first Purple Heart up. I came home, recuperated. Turned around and went back in 52. Did another tour. And they think, when we were coming home from Vietnam, nobody really respected us. Well Korea was worse,” McCabe said.
McCabe and his fellow Korea veterans, along with those from World War II and Vietnam landed in Washington D.C. with the Honor Flight.
“I lost a lot of boys over there. And I think by going to DC I'm respecting them,’ he said.
The veterans were greeted by cheers, a marching band and gratitude.
Among the men, was Joann Myers, a Korean war veteran herself. She says it was difficult being a woman in the military at that time.
“You had to be, you had to be strong and let 'em know you weren't taking any crap from them. To put it nicely. But I enjoyed every minute of it.
She enlisted because she wanted an education. One of the first women teletype mechanics, she said being a pioneer was rough.
“I was overtime or past time for me to be promoted. They'd come to me, crossed out my name,” Myers said. She was passed over twice, “and it was very, very demeaning. Yeah… and I just got out,” she said.
At the same time though, she’s proud she paved the way for women to serve as equals in the military. Women such as veteran Julia Treme.
Treme says her Grandpa John inspired her to serve.
“She was in the Army, course I was against that because I was a Marine. But she was a medic and she was in Seoul, Korea. And I all I did was put my toes in the water and they said you're not going because they signed the Armistice. I said son of a gun, I really feel bad about that,” John said.
I feel very humbled.// Um, it's really, I can't even tell you. //It's such an honor and a privilege to be here.
These really are true American heroes.
None of us are heroes, we all say we did what we had to do and so on. And that's true. But it's also something that less than 1 percent or about 1 percent goes in the military.
And we've got 99 percent that don't and we really need those people to go in even if it's a temporary basis. Even if it's the national guard or whatever. So that they're trained and ready.
So it touched his heart when he turned the corner at the airport and saw these smiling faces.
“It's just a feeling you can't imagine and I was doing good shaking all those hands until we got to those Cub Scouts. And then all of a sudden, you know? Forget it,”
No longer forgotten and treated like the heroes they are.