Holton veteran Daniel Amberg (at left) was welcomed by Honor Flight volunteers Joseph Short (center) and Ernest Puls (right) upon arrival at Baltimore-Washington Airport. The trip was a “bucket list” event for Amberg, who died Sunday at his home, hours after returning to Holton. A total of 47 military veterans, their student guardians from Holton and Jackson Heights high schools and support staff paused for a group photo at the World War II Memorial during this past weekend’s Honor Flight trip.

Amberg's "bucket list" D.C. trip achieved

(Editor's note: Photos from the Honor Flight may be viewed in our Photo Gallery.)

Daniel Amberg of Holton, a 91-year-old Navy veteran who served during the Korean War era, was looking forward to the Honor Flight this past weekend, enjoying the camaraderie of his fellow veterans, as well as the support he received from his student guardian, Holton High School sophomore Cael Frazier.

“I think he’s a fine guardian. He’s been a big help,” Amberg said of Frazier as they waited Friday morning at Kansas City International Airport to board a plane to Atlanta, where they would board another plane to take them to Washington, D.C.

Amberg shared the story of his military journey with Frazier, who was also eager to see how the other veterans on the trip reacted to the welcome they would receive upon arrival at Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

“A lot of them didn’t get the welcome back they deserved, and I’m excited to see how they respond to this one,” Frazier said.

While waiting to board in Kansas City, Amberg and Frazier talked about the former’s following in the footsteps of his grandfather, who served in the Union Army during the Civil War. He also stood prepared to serve during the Korean War, but never got called into battle.

“They put me on the East Coast,” Amberg said. “I never got anywhere near Korea.”

The Honor Flight also served as the final earthly journey for Amberg, who died Sunday morning at home, mere hours after returning from the trip. Derek Smith, Jackson Heights High School principal and Honor Flight coordinator, said that while Amberg’s death was a saddening occasion, Smith appreciated “getting to be a part of a healing component for a fellow veteran” before his death.

“He literally told me on the trip that this was ‘a bucket list item I had to do before I went out,’” Smith said of Amberg.

Holton resident and veteran Jack Pittaway also said that Amberg, a longtime friend, “was so happy to make that trip.” Pittaway, Amberg and 45 other military veterans from Jackson County, northeastern Kansas and elsewhere, took part in the Honor Flight trip to Washington this past weekend to visit veterans’ war memorials and other places of interest in the nation’s capital.

Pittaway was one of a few veterans participating in the Honor Flight — the first collaborative Honor Flight effort between Jackson Heights and Holton high schools — who also had the privilege of traveling with a younger member of his family. In this case, it was his grandson, Rylan Pittaway, a recent HHS graduate.

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The Holton Recorder

109 W. Fourth St.
Holton, KS 66436
Phone: 785-364-3141



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