Nebraska Purple Heart Flight: Purple Heart Recipients, Gold Star Families Visit D.C.


Patriotic Production’s Remembering Our Fallen memorial is set up through Memorial Day at the reflecting pool near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. Omaha will host the memorial June 17 through June 26 at the CHI Health Center arena and convention center near TD Ameritrade Park for the College World Series. It will also be on display near Independence Day at the Ralston Arena. (Courtesy Patriotic Productions)
By 
Scott Stewart
The Daily Record

Patrick Meyer didn’t understand what was happening at first.

A photographer in the truck with him got out of the vehicle in a com­bat zone in Iraq, and the U.S. Army sergeant followed him to drag him back into the truck.

“Over in Iraq, he was in my truck, and he started to get out, and he got down after I told him not to, and he took one shot,” Meyer said. “As I was pulling him in the truck, that’s when I got wounded and he got wounded a second time.”

The contract photographer was attached to Meyer’s task force to cover U.S. soldiers on patrol in Iraq in early 2006. He was shot in the leg and the ankle, and both the photographer and Meyer recovered from their injuries.

Meyer said he couldn’t under­stand why the photographer didn’t simply listen to him.

Meyer received a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star with Valor for his bravery that day. He said he saw the photographer a couple times while recovering in a military hospital in Germany, and they occasionally communicated back and forth with each other.

Meyer was later diagnosed with medical issues. After leaving the Army, he went on to work in con­struction, where he builds homes.

Meyer is one of many area veter­ans and family members who par­ticipated in Patriotic Production’s honorary Nebraska Purple Heart Flight on Friday. 

The nonprofit organization in­vited veterans who received Purple Hearts or Bronze Stars with Valor, along with Gold Star families who lost fathers or children in com­bat, to attend a special, free trip to Washington, D.C.

Patriotic Productions has taken nearly 3,500 veterans of World War II, Korea, Vietnam on honor flights, and the organization is committed to honoring military service mem­bers from World War II through the War on Terror.

Gold Star families on Friday’s trip also stopped by Patriotic Production’s national Remembering Our Fallen exhibit, which honors more than 5,000 ser­vice members who have died while in service since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The Gold Star families were given red roses to place near their fallen loved ones prior to a performance of taps, the group said.

Meyer, who lives in Papillion, said he was excited for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the monuments as well as to meet fellow veterans on the flight to Washington, D.C. He said he is thankful for the work that Patriotic Productions does.

“I totally appreciate everything that they’ve done to get everything ready,” Meyer said.

You can learn more about Patriotic Productions and how to support it at patrioticproductions.org.

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