Watch now: Vietnam veterans ride again as Honor Flight passes Scottsbluff | Nebraska News

Five pickup trucks full of Vietnam War veterans drove through Scottsbluff as part of an honor flight Thursday. They were accompanied by bikers and cheered by a crowd of more than 100 people waving flags.

The end goal for veterans is Washington, DC, where they can visit war memorials built to honor those who fought in the nation’s wars.

Scottsbluff has hosted such Honor Flight convoys before. For the past decade they have stopped at the local Elks Lodge for a memorial lunch.

Steve Thomlison, a hotheaded former leader of the Elks Lodge, organizes the events. This year, he worked with volunteers from Nebraska and Colorado, as well as ride captains for each leg of the journey. He said this year’s veterans came from Scottsbluff, Gering, Alliance, Chadron and Marsland.

FULL VIDEO Honor Flight Elks Lodge

Local first responders, veterans and students were among those who supported local members of the Honor Flight as they stopped in Scottsbluff en route to catch a plane to Washington, D.C., to see the war memorials .


They travel south through the Panhandle, northeast into Colorado, and west to Denver. In several towns along the way, cheering crowds greet veterans and thank them for their service.

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The veterans flew out of Denver International Airport on Friday, then meet in Washington for the weekend. Sometimes, Thomlison said, the group collects enough donations to hold two honor flights in a year.

In Scottsbluff, volunteers handed out 150 life-size American flags to spectators to carry and salute the veterans as they marched down 1st Avenue. Fire engines and ambulances with flashing lights and a flag draped over stretched ladders blocked the street to help mark their route.

FULL VIDEO Honor Flight Elks Lodge

About 150 volunteers stood outside with flags on Thursday to salute and cheer on 14 Vietnam War veterans who took part in an honor flight over the weekend.


Bob Goldman usually helps assemble the flag lines. “It’s a lot busier than usual… Gering’s children have come to help,” he said.

He said he had attended several such events and enjoyed supporting veterans in honor of his late father-in-law, who was a member of two honor flights before his death.

FULL VIDEO Honor Flight Elks Lodge

Ray Rossignol, a member of the American Legion Honor Guard, salutes during a luncheon Thursday honoring veterans participating in an honor flight.


Laura Lebruska, meanwhile, was attending the dispatch of an honor flight for the first time. She said her husband was honored at such an event this weekend and that his veteran daughter would serve as his guardian chaperone. “It’s my first time. I really enjoy it. I have a lot of friends here,” Lebruska said.

She is a member of the Mitchell Chapter of the American Legion Auxiliary. Among her fellow auxiliaries present was Denise Sinner of Morrill, whose father, brother and fiancé all served.

“Every American should do this,” Sinner said. “I think dedication, patriotism, there’s just a lot of things that just went away. To stand in the middle of the street and look both ways and see 150 flags… that’s just damn cool.

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