Longtime Ringgold County resident David Lynch was honored for his military service during the Vietnam War by garnering the last seat on an Eastern Iowa Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. for military last month.
Lynch was a sergeant in Vietnam. He received both a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart for his service.
The honors for Lynch did not stop with receiving the last seat on a flight reserved for veterans of the Korean War. He was also chosen to lay the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider.
"It was real nice," he said about being honored to lay the wreath. "I was one of the few who were chosen to do that."
His daughter, Meggan Brown, who now lives in Grant City, accompanied him on the trip. While she was considered Lynch's guardian on the trip, he was the one who pushed an older veteran in a wheelchair around the historical sights (sic) in the nation's capital.
Even though he was very impressed with the ceremony and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, he was also in awe of the Lincoln Memorial
I just thought how honored my mom and dad would be for me to be doing all of that," he said when summing up what the trip meant to him.
"It was great," he said about how the trip honored him even though the recognition felt like I was home."
Lynch certainly met the ailing heath due to combat qualifier, which got him on the flight. He is now in need of a kidney transplant because of all the Agent Orange he was exposed to in Vietnam.
He is now looking for someone to donate a kidney to him. He said he would pay for the testing and the transplant. All a person needs to do to become a kidney donor for him is to have a type A, both positive and negative, blood or have type O blood.
He was receiving kidney dialysis the day before the Honor Flight. On the day of the flight, his day started at 5:30 a.m. so he could make the flight out of Cedar Rapids. It was nearly midnight by the time he made it back to the hotel there.
He was both surprised and delighted to see a crowd of nearly 1,500 in the airport terminal at Cedar Rapids. They were there to welcome the veterans back. The crowd included a band and school children holding signs saying "Welcome home" and "Thank you for your service."
They told us that was our welcome home because we didn't receive one the first time," he said about the theme of the trip.
Veterans Affairs Director Dennis Adkisson said it [is] nice that veterans like Lynch are finally receiving some notoriety.
"Vietnam vets were not treated well when they got home," he said about prevailing attitudes in the 1970s.
"They are finally getting the recognition they deserve."
Photograph courtesy of Mount Ayr Record-News
Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, May of 2017