NW Ohio WWII vet finally makes it to D.C. memorial

Kasmer Klapp
Kasmer Klapp

By Brad Harvey - email

Posted by Jason Rzucidlo - email

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Two planeloads of veterans went to Washington D.C. on this honor flight. One of them served from before World War II all the way through the end, and he missed a lot back home.

"When I came home I saw my daughter for the very first time, because she was born right after I left for Europe," said  Kasmer Klapp, Honor Flight Veteran.  "She was over three years old when I saw her for the first time."

For Kasmar Klapp and many others, this is truly a last chance to see the monuments: Korea, the long black wall of Vietnam, Iwo Jima, Arlington and the Tomb of the Unknowns. These vets are almost embarassed by the attention, the respect, and the signs of gratitude that have been amazingly rare through the years. Most came home after the war to an abandoned train station in the middle of the night, like one honor flight vet.

"He spent three and a half years in a POW camp, and when he came home and his train pulled into New York there was not one person there to greet him," said Dee Pakulski of Honor Flight NW Ohio. "Honor Flight was the very first 'thank you' that gentleman ever received."

After seeing the WWII memorial for the first time, Klapp said: "It's more fabulous than I ever thought it would be."

It took 60 years for him to see the memorial.

"I didn't think I'd make it," Klapp added. "See I'm 92 now, so if I didn't make it now, I don't think I'd have made it."

And he almost didn't. Shortly after this trip Kasmer Klapp died. He was a man who rubbed shoulders with Eisenhower and Patton, among the finest of the greatest generation. But not before a grateful nation finally said "thank you."

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