Local veteran takes part in Honor Flight
By Bob McDonnell
It took more than 90 years for Army veteran and Berthoud resident Stan Edmisten to see our nation’s capital. Edmisten made his trek back east in September, thanks to the nonprofit Honor Flight Network and a nudge from Berthoud Mayor Steve Mulvihill.
Edmisten remembers having coffee with his buddies at the senior center in Berthoud. Mulvihill came in and asked who had been in the service. Edmisten raised his hand and indicated he had served two years in the Army. Mulvihill asked if the veteran had served in the Korean War or the Vietnam War.
“World War II,” was Edmisten’s answer.
He says at that point Mulvihill said,” Okay, you’re going,” referring the honor-flight trip. The mayor knows of the trip since he went once as a Vietnam vet and also as a “guardian” who accompanies the ex-military men and women on the overnight trip.
The Honor Flight Network formed in 2005. Their waiting list is 20 percent WW II vets, 45 percent from the Korean Conflict and 36 percent from the Vietnam era.
The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that 640 World War II veterans die each day. That is why it is important for men like Edmisten to take part in the trip.
Edmisten grew up in a farming family, living in southwest Iowa, around Harlan and Atlantic. He said he got draft deferments since he assisted his father in farming activities.
“I volunteered for the draft. Can you believe that?” Edmisten chuckled as he thought back to 1944.
He said he got tired of older guys who sat outside the local pool hall commenting on him not being in the service. Some of them lost sons in battle, according to Edmisten.
After basic training, the Iowa farm kid was shipped overseas.
“We headed to Iwo Jima to fight. Before we got there, the war ended,” Edmisten stated.
Later, Edmisten went to the island of Guam. From Guam, he returned to Iowa. He and others in the area went broke farming, so Edmisten headed to Colorado. Friends told him there was work in the construction field out west.
Now, a week or so before Veterans Day, Edmisten sits in his home in Berthoud looking at the album of pictures from his all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. He says a volunteer photographer from Denver took the pictures. The album sits on the table next to his chair in the living room, and probably has since September.
Edmisten, a very soft-spoken gentleman, remembers the trip with fond memories. He was impressed with all the people standing along the road as the busses departed Loveland for Denver International Airport.
He talks with awe about all the huge monuments he and the others saw. He marveled at the amount of work needed to produce them. “Somebody went to a lot of work,” is how he sums up all the memorials.
Asked about his plans for this Veterans Day, Edmisten had little to say. He thought he might go to the veterans’ ceremony at Berthoud High School. Last year he attended with a couple of his friends.
Summing up his recent trip, the 92-year-old took just a few words for Edmisten. “It was a good trip. They look after you.”
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