Abbotsford Army veteran explains his mission to ‘never forget’ on the Never Forgotten Honor Flight

Richard Michlig shares his experiences at the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. on the Never...
Richard Michlig shares his experiences at the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. on the Never Forgotten Honor Flight.(WSAW)
Published: Sep. 12, 2022 at 8:03 AM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The Never Forgotten Honor Flight serves the purpose to bring veterans in north central Wisconsin closure by taking them to Washington D.C. to see the war memorials. While on mission 41, NewsChannel 7 came across Army veteran Richard Michlig.

The Abbotsford man served in the Army from 1975 to 1995. He also taught at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, which is an army base.

“I kind of felt that those people that were in Vietnam should have come before me. But they wouldn’t sign up,” he explained. “Last time I was here, I didn’t come down because it was raining under this kind of terrible weather... That was earlier this spring because I knew I was coming here again.”

He came back on a mission to never forget.

“I’d like to get over here and see the nurses. They’re kind of, they’re really forgotten... And they got kind of a bad rap when they came back too,” he said.

He explained that it was a situation he experienced firsthand.

“Mr. Reagan had a big party out here for the fourth and they had the Beach Boys playing. So they drew a wide variety of people, and they wanted us to keep it from things happening. Let’s put it that way,” he said. “And none of this, only parts of this was here then. And they didn’t want anybody to damage it.”

He had the responsibility of guarding the memorial, which came with a handshake from some, while others had different intentions.

“Some people came by and said a few words that are not repeatable. So just typical, it’s the way it is.”

But being at the memorial on Monday, he reflected and had a message for other veterans.

“They need to come and see it. I mean, a lot of them got bad returns, if you will. No respect. So at least they’ll get some respect out of it.”

He said he hopes more veterans will take the chance at an opportunity of a lifetime with the Never Forgotten Honor Flight and encourages more community support.

“Support this program. It’s a pretty expensive little thing. And the more support they get, the better it is. Whether it be a local VFW, American Legion, Vietnam veterans, whichever holding a fundraiser, just go by and give him a little hand.”