Honor flight brings back memories for local veteran brothers
By ROXANNE DASS
After fighting in World War II together, two Benton County brothers were able to travel to Washington, D.C., on a recent honor flight.
Ed and Vic Landuyt, of Belle Plaine and Blairstown respectively, recently joined a group of veterans and flew out from the Quad Cities to go on the trip.
This wasn’t the first memorable trip the brothers took together, though. Vic, the older of the two, enlisted in the Army before his brother. Vic was stationed in the Philippines.
Two years later, Ed enlisted in the Army and was also placed in the Philippines, but on about 100 miles apart from each other on the large island of Luzon.
“We were on opposite sides of Luzon,” said Ed. “He was in the combat engineers and I was in the infantry.”
During their time on the island, though, the two brothers were able to meet up and take a trip together to the capital city of Manila.
Shortly after their trip to Manila, the atomic bombs were dropped on Japan. During the aftermath, both brothers were shipped out of the Philippines, both to Japan.
While they were once again in the same country, they weren’t stationed in the same base, but were closer together this time, about 15 miles apart. But the two brothers managed to take a trip together once again.
“When we were in Japan, we managed to travel together to Tokyo,” said Vic.
Now, over 60 years later in 2010 the brothers went on another trip together in their own country.
“It was terrific to be able to go on a trip with my brother,” said Ed. “It was our third time to travel together, first to Manila, then Tokyo and now here in the USA.”
“We just happened to be able to meet up and go on a trip together just like during the war,” said Vic.
Vic heard about the Quad Cities Honor Flight and thought it would be a good opportunity for another hurrah with his younger brother.
“I was very glad because they accepted both of us into the trip,” said Vic. “We were lucky the way things turned out.”
The whirlwind trip took place over the span of a day, with stops at several monuments and memorials.
The brothers along with their chaperones, Ed’s daughter Susan Bukiwy and Vic’s son-in-law Bill Thorman, traveled to Moline, Ill., and arrived at the airport at 5 a.m.
Their flight took off at 7 a.m. and arrived in Washington, D.C., a little over two hours later.
Among the sites the brothers were able to see included the World War II memorial, Vietnam memorial, Iwo Jima memorial and Arlington National Cemetery for the changing of the guard.
“It was terrific to see the (World War II) memorial, it was very touching,” said Ed. “On the memorial there’s 40,000 gold stars, each representing 100 service men killed, 400,000 killed in the war. It’s just something else.”
While they were touring the monuments, Ed said several people, including young school children, came to thank the veterans for all they had done.
“It was very humbling to be honored and its something I’ll never forget,” said Ed. “But (serving) was something you just had to do. It’s your service to our country.”
After a long day of touring, the group left D.C. around 10 p.m. After deplaning, Vic and Ed said there were still more surprises in store.
First, they were treated to ice cream in the airport. Then, as they were leaving to go to the parking lot, a group of nearly 300 people were there to greet them.
“It was really nice and beautiful to see,” said Vic.
Even though it was a long and tiring day, Ed said the trip was worth it all.
“We were up for 22 hours, but it was worth losing the sleep,” he said. “It’s something you would want to do every week.”
UPDATED May 11, 2010 2:18 PM