On Friday, September 18, Luke Fast was one of 95 World War II veterans to fly to Washington D.C. for a Roughrider Honor Flight. His son Tim, construction coordinator II at Basin Electric, accompanied Luke on the trip.
The Roughrider Honor Flight started in 2004 as a way to honor the veterans of World War II. At no cost, veterans are flown to Washington, D.C. to see the National World War II Memorial. The program is run entirely on donations.
Luke’s dinner table had three of the oldest veterans on the trip. Luke is a couple of weeks short of 94-years-old, but he wasn’t the oldest. Also at the table were 94-year-old Marcus Wax of Dickinson, ND and 95-year-old Paul Osadchy of Max, ND, who still lives on the farm by himself.
Sunday morning, breakfast was bright and early at 6:30 a.m. At 7:45 they boarded the buses and headed for the National World War II Memorial.
During a two hour visit at the memorial, Tim says the veterans received many handshakes and thank yous from strangers. Tim says there were three Asian men who did not speak any English, but wanted their picture taken with some of the veterans.Next was a short visit to the Iwo Jima Memorial, then on to Arlington National Cemetery. At Arlington they saw the Kennedy family graves, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Changing of the Guard Ceremony.
After two busy days, Tim says the flight home was a noisy one. The plane was full of 80- and 90-year-old men, sharing stories and reliving the weekend. Very few men slept.
Basin Electric contributed $20,000 to the Roughrider Honor Flight in 2009.
According to the Roughrider Honor Flight Web site (http://rrhonorflight.com), every $1,000 will send one veteran on a flight.