Holyoke veterans Stan Fisher, at left, and George Browning were honored as participants in the 18th Northern Colorado Honor Flight May 7-8. —Johnson Publications

Unsung heroes celebrated

“Most people don’t understand,” said retired Air Force Major Stan Fisher. “It takes 10 people behind every man in combat.”

Fisher, who served from 1958-1979, and George Browning, who served in the Navy from 1950-1954, were two such individuals — men that didn’t see actual combat in the wars during which they served but provided vital services too often overlooked or downplayed in military tales. Both Holyoke men were honored veterans in the 18th Northern Colorado Honor Flight May 7-8.

The goal of the Honor Flight program is to take every World War II veteran to see the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C., although Korean and Vietnam vets like Browning and Fisher are also eligible, as are terminally ill veterans and Purple Heart recipients of any war.

A completely free trip, the journey began Sunday, May 7, with breakfast at the Embassy Suites in Loveland and a send-off to remember as 131 vets were bused with a police escort down Interstate 25.

A record-setting 140 motorcycles led the parade as veterans’ friends, family and those just wishing to pay their respects lined the overpasses with signs and banners.

The group flew from a charter hangar at Denver International Airport to Baltimore, Maryland, and was bused again to Washington, D.C.

“It was amazing how we were transported from one place to the next,” said Fisher. “We always had a police escort, and you couldn’t believe the places they had traffic stopped.”

They saw several memorials, but the most impactful to Fisher and Browning was the featured WWII Memorial. This particular trip coincided with V-E Day, or Victory in Europe Day, as well as the 75th anniversary of WWII. A special ceremony was held at the memorial, followed by a trip to the White House for the vets.

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