Badger Honor Flight: Arlington National Cemetery - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Badger Honor Flight: Arlington National Cemetery

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By Teresa Mackin - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook | Blog

WASHINGTON (WKOW) -- 101 veterans went on the Badger Honor Flight last Saturday, each bringing with them memories from days' past.

27 News was on the flight and takes us on one veteran's personal journey.

For army veteran Wayne Stamm, a trip to Washington was about much more than himself.

Stamm said, looking at the World War II Memorial in D.C., "When I look at this, I think of those guys who aren't able to come back here and see it."

Stamm served in Germany during World War II. He was in the 63rd Infantry Division, that's credited with liberating the concentration camp at Dachau, the first concentration camp in Germany.

Stamm says, "We came across the concentration camp, opened the gates, and these walking skeletons came out. You couldn't believe the filth... the buildings were nothing but crates."

He's carried the memories for years.

Stamm says, "I left a lot of people there; they weren't brought back to Arlington, but they're what Arlington represents."

At the Arlington National Cemetery, veterans watched the Changing of the Guard ceremony, a somber and silent ceremony that happens every hour on the weekends. There are 340,000 tombstones at Arlington; they average 27 funerals there a day.

Stamm says, "This Arlington Cemetery, all I can say is, I'm glad they didn't play taps or I would have lost it."

But throughout the day, recognition for Wayne, as well.

Stamm says, "There was quite a crowd in Washington, but this just floored me when I came down that escalator."

Rod Stamm, Stamm's son, says, "It's wonderful; it brings tears to my eyes to see him finally getting the gratitude he deserves."

Gratitude for his service and for all of those who served as part of the greatest generation.

Stamm added, "It's been eye opening, emotional, and wonderful."

There were more than just WWII vets on the flight, veterans served in the Korean War among others.

Veteran's Day falls on November 11.

27 News will have more stories from the Badger Honor Flight on our broadcasts that evening, or click on the links to the left of this story for a web exclusive from the D.C. arrival.

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