It’s Our Honor: Local veteran spends birthday honoring fellow servicemen killed in Vietnam
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Nearly 160 veterans and their guardians participated in the return of Honor Flight Tallahassee in late April. However, only one of them was serenaded by the entire group in honor of their 71st birthday.
“You didn’t tell me it was your birthday,” WCTV’s Ben Kaplan exclaims in a follow-up interview with U.S. Navy Veteran Ted Dickerson.
“Well, I try to keep it quiet,” Dickerson replied. “I don’t like telling everybody and stuff. I kind of keep it low key.”
Fat chance with this group.
“I know, now everybody knows,” Dickerson says with a laugh.
What a way to usher in 71.
“How does it feel to be celebrating a birthday on a trip like this,” Ben asks.
“This is a great honor, it truly is,” Dickerson responds.
His wife was by his side at the start. But, spouses can’t serve as their veteran’s guardians.
“I’m going to go home and go back to bed,” she said.
But, not before a birthday smooch, sending Ted off to sightsee. And, more importantly, fulfill his wish.
“I’m looking forward to the Vietnam Memorial. That’s the main one I’m here for,” Dickerson says.
Later in the afternoon, through the sea of people gathered to pay their respects, we reconnected with Ted at the Vietnam Memorial.
And, we found out exactly what his wish was.
“All the pilots that got shut down, I was on the flight deck of the aircraft,” Dickerson tells another member of the crowd.
On a creased piece of paper, he had clung to all day was a list of names of men lost decades ago and who Ted has clearly never forgotten.
“This one here is one that is special to me,” Dickerson says as he points to his list.
On his day to be cherished, lingering moments were spent cherishing the servicemen Ted knew who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Ted’s wish had come true.
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