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Waukesha Man 'Overwhelmed' By Honor Flight

Stars and Stripes Honor Flight sends World War II veterans to Washington, D.C., to see the National World War II Memorial. The veterans received a special welcome home Saturday night at General Mitchel International Airport.

Franklin Teel, who is known by his middle name, Dwight, was greeted with cheers, hugs, smiles and handshakes as he maneuvered his wheelchair past the crowds after leaving the airplane that brought him home from a day trip to Washington, D.C.

Teel, 92, of Waukesha, was among the World War II veterans who were given the opportunity to travel to the National World War II Memorial that opened in 2004 through the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight.

“I have never experienced so much attention, so much respect,” said Teel, while waiting to go home after the flight. “… I was overwhelmed. On the plane, we were given package of mail that came in from friends. I couldn’t help it – it brought tears to my eyes.”

The Stars and Stripes Honor Flight provides the opportunity for World War II veterans to take an early morning flight from Milwaukee to see the memorial. The veterans return the same day, and all the veterans travel with a companion. Teel made the trip with his granddaughter, Ashley Teel, who helped him throughout the day.

“It was great, very meaningful, very inspirational,” Teel said. “Over 65 years – you kind of lose the vitality of this whole thing. This brought it all back.”

Teel was 24 years old and a school teacher when he was drafted into the Army. He set aside the chalkboard, the school books, the grades and the students and spent the next 47 months in the service. The Waukesha man was stationed in the Aleutian Islands during part of the war. 

“At the time, the Japanese were invading the islands,” Teel explained.

Victoiria Hekkers May 15, 2011 at 11:25 AM
It was an amazing event and long overdue. A wonderful idea that was executed to perfection.
Janice Ferguson May 15, 2011 at 12:16 PM
The Stars and Stripes Honor Flight is fantastic. I wish more states had it. We need to get these Vets to DC. It is their memorial!
Marilyn Laube May 15, 2011 at 01:27 PM
This was an amazing event to attend. So many of the vets seemed overwhelmed with the crowd and thank you's they received. My father was one of the men on the honor flight and I went to see him get off the plane. This won't be the last time I go. The crowd that turned out to thank our veterans was truly inspirational. What a great tribute to all of our U.S. Veterans Marilyn Laube
Joette May 15, 2011 at 01:57 PM
What a great idea to thank these brave men.
Betsy May 16, 2011 at 02:46 AM
A member of our church participated in the April 16th flight and shared his experiences with us which made me bound and determined to be at Mitchell Saturday night. It was an honor to be there to welcome home these brave men and women. I HIGHLY recommend welcoming home Honor Flight participants. They post flight information on their web site - http://www.starsandstripeshonorflight.org/ - and post itineraries, including arrival time at Mitchell about a week before the flight. They are also on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/starsandstripeshonorflight?sk=wall. There are Honor Flight hubs across the US - http://www.honorflight.org/programs/allregionalhubs.cfm - if you know of veterans in other states who would like to participate or have friends and family members who would like to be welcoming parties for them. This is an all volunteer effort that depends on donations to offset the cost of the trip for veterans ("companions" and family members pay their own way). I hope you will consider supporting this great program, whether it's through monetary donations, greeting veterans when they return to Milwaukee or spreading the word about it.
Rick May 19, 2011 at 10:29 PM
I am glad that we, as a nation and as a state, are taking the time to say thank you in a meaningful way to so many men and women that risked all to give us the freedoms we have today. I hope that this continues for years to come, not only the WW II vets (of which my father is one) but Korea and Vietnam. And some day if a memorial is built for current or future wars fought for the freedoms of our nation or others, that we continue this as another Wisconsin tradition we can all be proud of.
barbara dable May 23, 2011 at 03:44 PM
What a wonderful thing, on behalf of my family we thank you ,we relish our freedoms on a daily basis, watching the video brought tears to my eyes. thank you all so much, if anyone has not been to DC you should go it is a fantastic trip. Mrs. Barbara Dable

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