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Marquette veteran treated to unexpected family reunion

May 2, 2013
By RENEE PRUSI - Journal Staff Writer (rprusi@miningjournal.net.) , The Mining Journal

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Marquette veteran Louis Laurich and his daughter Deb were standing in the middle of the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Wednesday when Louis received one surprise.

And then another.

Louis had made the trip to the nation's capital as part of Upper Peninsula Honor Flight and Deb had gone along as his guardian for the day's journey, which would include stops at a number of landmarks, among other activities.

Article Photos

Marquette World War II veteran Louis Laurich had an unexpected mini family reunion Wednesday when Upper Peninsula Honor Flight participants arrived at the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. Laurich had traveled on the flight with his daugther Deb, left, but was surprised by the presence of his daughter Pam, far right, who traveled from California, and his cousin Nancy Cram of Baltimore, Md. The women said they wanted to be there as a special surprise when Laurich visited the memorial. (Journal photo by Renee Prusi)

The Honor Flight - which carried 76 WWII veterans from 13 of the 15 counties in the U.P. - made the WWII monument its first stop. Louis had barely gotten off the bus when he saw his first surprise: His daughter Pam Laurich Polione had traveled all the way from San Leandro, Calif., to be with him when he saw the memorial.

"I haven't even woke up yet," Louis said with a wry smile. "This is something else."

As he, Pam and Deb posed for group photos, Louis's second surprise appeared: His cousin, Nancy Cram.

"It's so good to see you," she said as she hugged Louis tightly. Nancy grew up in Big Bay but now lives in Baltimore, Md.

"When I heard he was going to be here, I had to come," Nancy said. "Lou is an awesome man."

More family photos were taken with Nancy added in. Then the women fussed, just a little, over Lou as they helped him get ready for the group photo being taken of the entire U.P. veterans' contingent.

"My sister Susie was instrumental in me coming here from California," Pam explained as the Laurich women waited for Louis to finish with the group shot. "She worked to twist my arm. And I said 'why can't I go?' and asked one of my friends if she'd come along with me. We arrived in Washington Monday and will be leaving Sunday. It has been great.

"And this is amazing, to see my dad here."

In addition to surprise family members' appearances, U.P. Honor Flight Mission IV's veterans were greeted by more than 100 school children from Rocky Run Middle School in Chantilly, Va., students who had just studied the Second World War and wanted to meet these American heroes.

The students held up thank-you signs and other greetings, reaching out to shake hands with many veterans as they arrived at the World War II Memorial.

Also on hand to salute the veterans were U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Detroit, and U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Crystal Falls, as well as a number of high-ranking officers from the Pentagon.

Everywhere the Honor Flight went, the veterans were greeted with applause, including at Reagan National Airport upon arrival.

"This is unbelievable," said veteran Bob Engdahl of Wells Township as he was met with a wave of applause and cheers as he walked into the terminal. "Thank you all so very much."

Wednesday marked the fourth trip for U.P. Honor Flight to the nation's capital. So far, some 313 WWII veterans have made the one-day trip on the four flights - all at no cost to them. Those who organize the flights raise all the funds from the various communities around the Upper Peninsula.

The goal is to bring all WWII veterans from the U.P. to see the memorial built in their honor, which was dedicated in 2004.

While in the nation's capital, the group visits the Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Memorial and Arlington Cemetery, among other stops.

Members of U.P. Honor Flight IV were sent off early Wednesday morning from the Delta County Airport with music by the Escanaba High School Band and greeted by several hundred community members upon their return at about 8:40 p.m. Wednesday.

Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253. Her email address is WASHINGTON, D.C. - Marquette veteran Louis Laurich and his daughter Deb were standing in the middle of the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Wednesday when Louis received one surprise.

And then another.

Louis had made the trip to the nation's capital as part of Upper Peninsula Honor Flight and Deb had gone along as his guardian for the day's journey, which would include stops at a number of landmarks, among other activities.

The Honor Flight - which carried 76 WWII veterans from 13 of the 15 counties in the U.P. - made the WWII monument its first stop. Louis had barely gotten off the bus when he saw his first surprise: His daughter Pam Laurich Polione had traveled all the way from San Leandro, Calif., to be with him when he saw the memorial.

"I haven't even woke up yet," Louis said with a wry smile. "This is something else."

As he, Pam and Deb posed for group photos, Louis's second surprise appeared: His cousin, Nancy Cram.

"It's so good to see you," she said as she hugged Louis tightly. Nancy grew up in Big Bay but now lives in Baltimore, Md.

"When I heard he was going to be here, I had to come," Nancy said. "Lou is an awesome man."

More family photos were taken with Nancy added in. Then the women fussed, just a little, over Lou as they helped him get ready for the group photo being taken of the entire U.P. veterans' contingent.

"My sister Susie was instrumental in me coming here from California," Pam explained as the Laurich women waited for Louis to finish with the group shot. "She worked to twist my arm. And I said 'why can't I go?' and asked one of my friends if she'd come along with me. We arrived in Washington Monday and will be leaving Sunday. It has been great.

"And this is amazing, to see my dad here."

In addition to surprise family members' appearances, U.P. Honor Flight Mission IV's veterans were greeted by more than 100 school children from Rocky Run Middle School in Chantilly, Va., students who had just studied the Second World War and wanted to meet these American heroes.

The students held up thank-you signs and other greetings, reaching out to shake hands with many veterans as they arrived at the World War II Memorial.

Also on hand to salute the veterans were U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Detroit, and U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Crystal Falls, as well as a number of high-ranking officers from the Pentagon.

Everywhere the Honor Flight went, the veterans were greeted with applause, including at Reagan National Airport upon arrival.

"This is unbelievable," said veteran Bob Engdahl of Wells Township as he was met with a wave of applause and cheers as he walked into the terminal. "Thank you all so very much."

Wednesday marked the fourth trip for U.P. Honor Flight to the nation's capital. So far, some 313 WWII veterans have made the one-day trip on the four flights - all at no cost to them. Those who organize the flights raise all the funds from the various communities around the Upper Peninsula.

The goal is to bring all WWII veterans from the U.P. to see the memorial built in their honor, which was dedicated in 2004.

While in the nation's capital, the group visits the Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Memorial and Arlington Cemetery, among other stops.

Members of U.P. Honor Flight IV were sent off early Wednesday morning from the Delta County Airport with music by the Escanaba High School Band and greeted by several hundred community members upon their return at about 8:40 p.m. Wednesday.

Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253. Her email address is rprusi@miningjournal.net.WASHINGTON, D.C. - Marquette veteran Louis Laurich and his daughter Deb were standing in the middle of the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Wednesday when Louis received one surprise.

And then another.

Louis had made the trip to the nation's capital as part of Upper Peninsula Honor Flight and Deb had gone along as his guardian for the day's journey, which would include stops at a number of landmarks, among other activities.

The Honor Flight - which carried 76 WWII veterans from 13 of the 15 counties in the U.P. - made the WWII monument its first stop. Louis had barely gotten off the bus when he saw his first surprise: His daughter Pam Laurich Polione had traveled all the way from San Leandro, Calif., to be with him when he saw the memorial.

"I haven't even woke up yet," Louis said with a wry smile. "This is something else."

As he, Pam and Deb posed for group photos, Louis's second surprise appeared: His cousin, Nancy Cram.

"It's so good to see you," she said as she hugged Louis tightly. Nancy grew up in Big Bay but now lives in Baltimore, Md.

"When I heard he was going to be here, I had to come," Nancy said. "Lou is an awesome man."

More family photos were taken with Nancy added in. Then the women fussed, just a little, over Lou as they helped him get ready for the group photo being taken of the entire U.P. veterans' contingent.

"My sister Susie was instrumental in me coming here from California," Pam explained as the Laurich women waited for Louis to finish with the group shot. "She worked to twist my arm. And I said 'why can't I go?' and asked one of my friends if she'd come along with me. We arrived in Washington Monday and will be leaving Sunday. It has been great.

"And this is amazing, to see my dad here."

In addition to surprise family members' appearances, U.P. Honor Flight Mission IV's veterans were greeted by more than 100 school children from Rocky Run Middle School in Chantilly, Va., students who had just studied the Second World War and wanted to meet these American heroes.

The students held up thank-you signs and other greetings, reaching out to shake hands with many veterans as they arrived at the World War II Memorial.

Also on hand to salute the veterans were U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Detroit, and U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Crystal Falls, as well as a number of high-ranking officers from the Pentagon.

Everywhere the Honor Flight went, the veterans were greeted with applause, including at Reagan National Airport upon arrival.

"This is unbelievable," said veteran Bob Engdahl of Wells Township as he was met with a wave of applause and cheers as he walked into the terminal. "Thank you all so very much."

Wednesday marked the fourth trip for U.P. Honor Flight to the nation's capital. So far, some 313 WWII veterans have made the one-day trip on the four flights - all at no cost to them. Those who organize the flights raise all the funds from the various communities around the Upper Peninsula.

The goal is to bring all WWII veterans from the U.P. to see the memorial built in their honor, which was dedicated in 2004.

While in the nation's capital, the group visits the Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Memorial and Arlington Cemetery, among other stops.

Members of U.P. Honor Flight IV were sent off early Wednesday morning from the Delta County Airport with music by the Escanaba High School Band and greeted by several hundred community members upon their return at about 8:40 p.m. Wednesday.

Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253.

 
 

 

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