On a visit to Washington, D.C., an old soldier is saluted by many

Wednesday, 15 November 2017, 12:37:59 AM. Lewis O’Brien loved all the handshakes, from more people than he could count.They approached the World War II veteran at airports and historic monuments last Sunday in our nation’s capital, and the attention he received created that proverbial lump in...
Lewis O’Brien loved all the handshakes, from more people than he could count. They approached the World War II veteran at airports and historic monuments last Sunday in our nation’s capital, and the attention he received created that proverbial lump in the old man’s throat. Tears fell, too, from an individual whose generation – often called The Greatest Generation – fought to hide its emotions almost as hard as it fought the Japanese and Germans. “The best day of my life,” O’Brien told me on the phone before I visited him at his home Friday in Londonderry. Those were pretty strong words from an 89-year-old man who arrived in Japan shortly after a pair of Atomic bombs destroyed two major cities there and ended the war. They’re words upon which to build a classic Veterans Day column, because O’Brien’s trip to Washington D.C., part of the Honor Flight New England program, produced emotion and nostalgia that’s hard to beat. Honor Flight, headquartered out of Hooksett by a former cop named Joe Byron, offers free trips for aging veterans to D.C. Men like O’Brien take a bus tour, stopping at the tributes to those who fought in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, with its changing of the guard ceremony, is on the schedule as well. I’ve gone on two of these flights as a writer, and the things I saw were, to say the least, were powerful on their own. The impact of traveling with these veterans who fought in jungles and on beaches, and who watched their...Read more
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