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North Texas veterans honored during emotional Washington, D.C. trip

Veterans honored during emotional Washington, D.C. trip
Veterans honored during emotional Washington, D.C. trip 07:10

WASHINGTON, D.C. — This past weekend, CBS News Texas' Doug Dunbar traveled with a group of North Texas veterans to the nation's capital to visit memorials some have never seen, to grieve friends lost in war and to hear something they never got to hear when they came home.

Honor Flight DFW No. 54 was the first trip, filled with Vietnam veterams. 

What unfolded over 36 hours was the washing away of over five decades of grief and guilt, topped off with the welcome home they've longed for. 

"I grew up hearing all the stories with my dad, I joined the Navy, my daughter's in the Navy and I've always wanted to do this with him," said Del Valdez.

While the trip brought along World War II veterans and Korean War veterans, the journey to the memorials in Washington for the nearly 40 Vietnam War veterans saw five decades of emotion slowly begin to surface.

"Thinking about how many of these people I knew and how many I didn't know," said Vietnam veteran Otis Malone. "There's a lot of names up here. It touches me."

Sometimes there were words, sometimes, no words at all.

There are over 58,000 names on the wall, and everybody knows somebody. For Doug Dunbar, it's his dad.

At the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, powerful moments of near silence later ended with an unexpected moment of reverence.

"I got a tear in my eye, it got to me," Malone said. "Some people out here shaking hands with us, we didn't get much of that in 1969. I'm delighted to be here. It's amazing."  

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