Earlier this fall, an Honor Flight left the Fort Dodge Regional Airport for Washington, D.C.

Among the 176 Korean and Vietnam War veterans on that flight was Denny Abel of Creston. He had waited patiently for the slot. Vietnam vets began making Honor Flights more than a year ago, but priority goes with age, and older WWII and Korean vets have seniority.

“That’s how it should be,” says Abel. “We want as many of those vets to go as possible.”

He and 13 other Union County vets boarded a bus Sept. 15 at 4 a.m. to make the 6 a.m. flight arranged by Bushy Creek Honor Flight of Fort Dodge. “We didn’t get home until 11:30 that night, and you would think a bunch of old guys like us would be tired,” says Abel. “But, oh no, we talked all the way home. We were so wound up.”

In between the benchmarks on the clock, the veterans flew to Washington and back, touring the impressive...