Veterans from North Louisiana and East Texas are continuing their tour of the nation's capitol, visiting significant landmarks. Among the memorials is a relatively new one, honoring soldiers' selfless service in World War II. It was completed in 2004.
Most of the vets on this trip had not seen the new memorial yet, including Shreveport native Lee Solice. He shared his story with KSLA News 12's Fred Childers as the group prepared to head to Washington, D.C.
Not wanting to be a draftee, Solice says he opted to re-enlist in the Army after receiving a draft card in the mail, and headed to Germany to work in transportation as the war ended. "It's a long story," Solice says. "I was walking through a village and they thought well maybe that guy doesn't know the war was over."
Solice says he was part of a special unit. "From 1946 to 1952, right after the war, there was chaos in Germany. They had no government, nobody to do anything, so they formed a military government." It was called the constabulary. "Controlling the borders," Solice explains, was part of the job. "They had horses that controlled the borders. You couldn't cross the border if you wasn't German. Whatever was required of the government."
The Russians fought on the side of the Allied powers, along with the U.S. But when Germany was defeated, alliances dissolved. Once Germany and its allies had been defeated, parts of Germany were up for grabs. In his transportation role, Solice took part in the drawing of the lines that would separate western ideals from communist ones, and solidified the cold war.
"We actually were referred to as Cold War Warriors," Solice recalls. Not only was he fascinated with watching that history unfold, he was fascinated with Germany and it's people. "The people themselves didn't start the war, and that's why I had no gripes with the people themselves, it was the administration."
His service helped shape the world, and it also helped shape Solice. Today, he speaks German fluently, and has made several trips back to Germany to visit. He plans to continue his life education with the Heroes Flight to Washington D.C.
"There's always something new you can learn, I'm sure, in the museum. There are many things I didn't see while I was there."
The annual Heroes Flight is sponsored by Brookshires. The first Heroes Flight took place in 2010. The endeavor is fully funded and coordinated by Brookshires, at no cost to the veterans. To date, Brookshires says, 225 veterans have made the trip.
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