CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - Bonded by faith, fellowship and love of country, these three patriots served the United States honorably.
"There was an attitude that this was just the thing to do. We had no doubt that we wanted to serve,” said Jack Featherston who served during the Korean War. "It was patriotism, honoring the country. Which we very strongly felt then and those of us still living still feel it."
Dennis Guthrie and Joe Jones both served in Vietnam. It was a tougher time back then.
“I got spit on. Of course we were under strict orders not to retaliate and so I had that type of experience before I went,” Guthrie said.
“So coming out I realized there was a lot of anti-war sentiment. Was very strong. But that never changed my mind about it, I did the right thing,” said Jones.
Upon his return, Dennis received some startling orders:
“They told me to take off my uniform. To travel back in civilian clothes. And I said screw you, I've been wearing this for ten months in Vietnam and over a year before that. I'm proud of it. I'll wear it.”
“I was just ashamed of the way the Vietnam folks were treated when they came back,” Featherston said.
The Honor Flight aims to change that. Veterans are invited to travel together to see the war memorials in Washington D.C., and spend time in the company of those that know what they've been through. It's the trip of a lifetime for these friends.
“It was an easy decision thinking about who you going with,” Guthrie said.
And they'll go in honor of the ones who did not come home.
I had a friend that I served in Philadelphia with and I'd been in country 10 days and he got killed,” said Guthrie.
“I have some very close friends that were killed in Vietnam and I hope that I can find their names on the wall,” Jones told FOX 46.
And there will be many names on Jack's mind.
“I had several cousins killed in World War 2. I had lots of friends, classmates who were killed in the Korean War. And a number of nephews and relatives that were in the Vietnam War.”
They go to heal the past, and to pass on their patriotism to future generations.
“I hope that we can somehow pass it on that those folks that fought for our freedom are the reason we can do the things we can in this country now,” Featherston said.