Jack Amberg, of Wellington, was one of more than 100 military veterans who arrived home Sept. 6 at Wichita Eisenhower Airport, having taken a whirlwind trip to Washington D.C.
Military personnel held flags and saluted the veterans as they returned to the arrival destination of the airport. A high school band played and cheerleaders cheered. Friends and family applauded the men. Some people held up signs with messages like, “Welcome Home.”
Amberg, 94, a World War II veteran, exited the plane and entered the airport with other World War II veterans in wheelchairs. Veterans of the Korean and Vietnam Wars had taken the flight as well.
“I’m just tickled that I got this honor,” Amberg said amid the crowd noise. “It meant a lot to me.”
Amberg, an Army veteran, fought in four major battles - in Normandy, Rhineland, Northern France and Central Europe. He was awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Bronze Service Star. He received the Bronze Star for saving the life of an officer.
During the trip to Washington D.C., Amberg saw such sites as the National Archives, the World War II Memorial, the Korean Veterans Memorial, the Air Force, Navy and Marine Memorials and the Smithsonian Museum. The whole time, he was assisted by a guardian, Eric Ryker.
“Everybody bent over backwards for me, getting around and helping me,” Amberg said. “I appreciate everything they done.”
His favorite stop in Washington, D.C. was Arlington National Cemetery.
Coming home, the veterans were applauded at every airport they stopped at “but this was the best. Boy, they really done great,” Amberg said. “Home sweet home.”
The trip was “something I’ll never forget in my life,” he said.