From parades to cookouts, many of us are marking Memorial Day celebrating our freedom and the men and women who died for it. While many veterans don't like to share their experiences, The Never Forgotten Honor Flight has a way of getting many of them to open up, some for the very first time.
Howie Zell was only 20 years old when he left Moon, Wisconsin for Korea. AS a part of the Weapons Company, Zell was assigned to the 3rd Battalion 7th Marines. He arrived in Korea on the third week in February and was immediately sent to the front lines.
"The squad leader said, 'There's your gun down there. There's your first night.' So I spent the first night down on the front line with the gun and was kind of thinking to myself, what the hell am I doing here," Zell recalls.
There he stayed, ninety days at a time for nearly a year. Putting his life on the line to save ours.
"When you're fighting for country, you don't think about that stuff," Zell explains.
When he wasn't on the line, Zell was assigned to guard duty. An experience he remembers fondly.
"For about a week, we were guarding the diplomats that were talking in Pan Moon Jong on the peace talks."
After a year in Korea, Zell got to go home.
"I consider myself fortunate that everything worked out the way that it did," Zell tells NewsChannel 7. "The experience in Korea is something a guy will never forget."
Neither will Zell forget those comrades who never made it home.
"You think of those guys and, you know, I can picture them just like if they're standing right there." Zell says choking back tears. "Those guys paid the ultimate price... God bless them. That's all I can say. It's all I can say."