NEW ORLEANS, LA (WLOX) - In one week, on Veterans Day, Americans will pay tribute to the men and women currently serving in uniform, and those who came before them. Wednesday, more than 200 of those veterans were treated to a free trip to the World War II Museum in New Orleans.
The day began with a short ceremony at Riemann Family Funeral Home in Gulfport, complete with the national anthem, and the posting of the colors. Then onto the buses which traveled under a giant American flag hoisted by the Gulfport Fire Department.
At the museum, a movie was shown, and it left an impression on veteran Dick Wade.
"Sitting here and watching the movie, tears just flowed out of my eyes. It brought back good times and brought back bad times," Wade recalled.
The tour also reminded the older veterans of what they did to save the world. One of them is World War II vet Herb Carnathan.
"We look back and think of what God allowed us to do and that brought us to peace. It's a great feeling," Carnathan said.
For all the veterans who made the trip to New Orleans, they all said they wouldn't miss it for the world. But they also said it brought back memories, some pleasurable, and some very painful.
"I just remember one mission. B-17's. 60 of them were shot down in one mission. That's 600 men in one mission," Richard Dodge recalled.
Stories of war and heroism were heard over and over again for veteran Getty Guerin.
"I was on subs for one thing, so I didn't get shot at in Vietnam. My uncle was in World War II and I heard stories from him though that gave me the willies."
This museum is the perfect setting for such a trip. Jonah Langenbeck is the public relations director for the World War II Museum.
"It's fulfilling our mission. That's what we're here to do. We're here to tell their story. And so with the urgent passing of that generation, it's very important for us to have those guys come here," Langenbeck explained.
For the Riemann family, there is no better gift.
"I didn't serve in the military, so this is a way that we can give back and to say thank-you to those did so that we can enjoy the freedoms that we have today," Chad Riemann said.
The Riemann family sponsored the trip to the museum, free of charge for any veterans who signed up and wanted to go. This is the third year the Riemanns have arranged the trip in honor of Veterans Day.