In some respects, the trip began much like their enlistment to serve their Country all those years ago.
They boarded buses, though this time it was comfortable coaches. And rather than being sent off to war the local veterans and their guests knew exactly where they were going and what would be taking place.
For the second time – the last in the fall of 2013, Ackley area veterans were treated to a special trip organized by the Ackley American Legion Auxiliary and the Sons of the American Legion for these local heroes who fought for the freedoms enjoyed today. The trip took place on Saturday, Sept. 17.
Fifty nine veterans and escorts, along with five volunteers, took part in the trip to the Iowa Veteran’s Cemetery and the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum located at Camp Dodge near Des Moines.
The first stop for the group was the cemetery where a guided tour of the campus was provided by Colonel Robert C. King (Ret). King, Executive Director of the cemetery. Col. King has also retired from the Director position and the tour for the Ackley vets was the last he provided in that position.
With 3,150 graves today, the capacity of the cemetery is 80,000. It is estimated that the cemetery will be completely full by 2020.
Five individuals with Ackley ties are buried there: Robert Smith, Carlos Puente Morales, Dean Miller, Dennis Yone and Lloyd Barnes.
Following the visit and tour, dinner was provided to the vets and their guests at the Machine Shed. After which the group toured the museum before their trip home.
Several area businesses provided items, from water to goodie bags for the vets.
They include Caseys General Store, Culligan, Grand JiVante, Triple T Specialty Meats, Green Belt Bank and Trust, Kum and Go, GNB Bank, Ibeling Insurance, Ackley Super Foods, Ackley Recreation Center and the Ackley World Journal.