'Warriors to Washington' Brings Erie Veterans to D.C.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A few days ago marked the 21st anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks. Following those attacks, American troops fought in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other places around the world. To honor these veterans, a group called “Warriors to Washington” brought 35 veterans from the Erie area to our nation's capitol.
At Washington, D.C.’s World War II memorial, Joe Betcher, an Erie local who served in the Air Force in the mid 80s, makes his way closer to the Pacific side of the memorial.
“The World War II memorial here is near and dear to my heart because of my father's service,” said Betcher.
His dad fought in the battle of Luzon in the Philippines.
“And he was wounded in the leg,” added Betcher.
Betcher, along with a group of 35 veterans and their guests from the Erie area are here in D.C. with the group “Warriors to Washington”.
“This year we expanded who we typically bring, we brought Vietnam era veterans because of the 50 year ending of hostilities in Vietnam, so we have some older individuals with us this year so it's really great to have them and honor them as well,” said Joe Pfdat, president of Warriors to Washington. “Typically our group are post-9/11 veterans are people who served in Iraq, Afghanistan or other parts of the world for the war on terror are typically who we bring so it's been great to have a wider variety of veterans this year.”
The group honors veterans and their service by taking them to D.C. sites including the monuments and memorials dedicated to them.
“My dad was in the army and I have two sons who are in the marines,” said Donna Long. She has participated with Warriors to Washington several times. This past Sunday marked the 21st anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. A difficult day for their family.
“My husband's parents were on the flight that crashed into the Pentagon,” said Long. “They were on the way to Kauai, Hawaii to bury my mother-in law's father who was in the navy.”
For those with Warriors to Washington, they said this trip has been an emotional one.
“It’s definitely awe inspiring,” said Betcher.
“I want to make sure that the men and women who are veterans that they know and understand
how thankful, how thankful we are,” said Long.