A Korean War Veteran from Fulton is getting ready to take his first trip on the honor flight. It’s a trip for veterans that flies them to Washington D.C. to see monuments and honor their sacrifice and service to our country. The flight leaves this Saturday.
Robert Pawlewicz has never been on an honor flight. Since his return home from the war, he has been all about family. He has 10 children, nearly 40 grandkids and 7 great grandchildren. There’s not much he hasn’t done, but Saturday the 87-year-old Pawlewicz will take part in the Honor Flight for the first time.
“I am excited for him because he never really talked about the service or about Korea,” his wife of 59 years Noretta Pawlewicz said. “Occasionally when he would get together with someone who served then he would talk about it.”
Like many veterans, Pawlewicz wasn’t greeted with applause or with many “thank yous” when he got home from the war. Honor Flight aims to give people like him a proper “thank you.” Pawlewicz says he wants to let out some emotions he has kept in all these years.
“I will do a lot of reminiscing,” Pawlewicz said. “Seeing people that will spike some different attitudes into my mind and body.”
Worry about his body is in-part why his family made a push for him to go on the flight. His son John signed him up over the summer.
According to John, his father had a mini-stroke a few years back and has also had some recent health problems.
“Had some issues with his bladder and when they looked into his bladder he had cancer in his bladder,” John Pawlewicz said. “So he has been going through chemo for the last few years.”
Due to his declining health, Robert and John will fly together Saturday. They will return home with a large number of family waiting for them. And return home to be greeted by hundreds of people– a proper welcome Pawlewicz has waited for.
“I will cry,” Robert Pawlewicz said, fighting back tears.
NewsChannel 9 will be there when the plane lands Saturday. They return home at 6:40 that evening aboard American Airlines flight 9470. The plane will land to a water-cannon salute outside the south terminal of Hancock Airport. A welcome home ceremony will take place for the veterans, which will be followed by a parade in their honor.