WASHINGTON — Max Wean called it “a feeling you never forget.”
The Greenfield resident recently returned from Washington with Indy Honor Flight, which arranges several trips a year for U.S. military veterans to the nation’s capital and its military memorials.
Wean served in the U.S. Air Force from 1960 to 1964 and was a member of the Air Police assigned to a radar squadron in Spokane, Washington. He currently serves in the Greenfield Veterans Honor Guard.
He enlisted in the Air Force at age 19 after a year of serving in the Air Force ROTC at Ball State University.
“The military taught you something,” Wean said. “You learned respect, and you learned you did things you didn’t like to do, but you went ahead and did them… It made a difference in me through the years.”
Wean enlisted his 17-year-old grandson, Brantley Kuntz, to be his chaperone on the trip. They and the other travelers visited the capital’s memorials and monuments honoring the nation’s military and past leaders.
The highlight of the trip, Wean said, was the changing of the guard at Arlington National Cemetery.
He estimated that hundreds of people thanked him throughout the day for his military service.
“It brings tears to your eyes,” he said. “…I suspect it will be one of my better days I spent in my life.”
Brantley recalled how strangers would approach his grandfather and the other veterans throughout the day to shake their hands.
Even more gratitude came in the form of notes dispersed to the veterans on the return flight and the welcome-home celebration at Plainfield High School that followed.
Wean said he wanted Brantley to accompany him because he felt it would be a good learning experience for his grandson.
Brantley agreed that it was, adding he took in far more than he did when he went on his eighth grade class trip to Washington several years ago.
“Especially when you’re with a bunch of veterans who were there and who the monuments were built for, it builds more emotion inside and it’s more meaningful this time,” Brantley said.