During a similar bus trip to Washington in July 2011, (front left to right) Gary Minnich, Jack Day, (back left to right) Nick Ullrich and Mike Lafollette - all Purple Heart recipients - lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns.
(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) – A bus is bound from Lawrenceburg, Indiana to Washington, D.C. On it are about fifty veterans from southeast Indiana who will see the memorials erected in their honor.
The roughly 530 mile trip is the fourth organized in part by P.G. Gentrup, a veteran advocate from Rising Sun.
“We’ve got World War II. We got Korea. We got Vietnam. We got War on Terrorism and just some general era veterans on this trip,” Gentrup said.
The bus departed from the Lawrenceburg American Legion at about 7:30 a.m. Friday. On the way to the nation’s capitol, the group will stop in Shanksville, Pennsylvania to visit the Flight 93 Memorial.
Once in Washington, the delegation will spend their Saturday visiting various landmarks: Arlington National Cemetery, the White House, the U.S. Capitol Building, Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and memorials for Vietnam, Korea, World War II and more.
On the trip will be Army PFC Brett Bondurant, a Lawrenceburg native who was injured in Afghanistan last September. Gentrup said Indiana Ninth District Congressman Todd Young’s office will present to the Bondurant family an American flag that flew over the U.S. Capitol Building.
Bondurant and his grandfather, Vietnam veteran Jerry Bondurant of Rising Sun, will have the honor of laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.
“This is the chance of a lifetime. It’s definitely an honor. Words can never describe how I feel about that,” Brett Bondurant said.
Two other local Vietnam veterans – Eddie Roberts and Walt Bryant – will join the Bondurants in the wreath laying.
“When you’re standing on the steps watching the changing of the guard and you look around to see all of those thousands of military tombstone, when it’s people you know personally walking out there on that hallowed ground – very few people get to set foot out there. If that doesn’t put a lump in your throat then you’re not breathing,” Gentrup said.