WASHINGTON, D.C. — Korean War veteran Chuck Learn, 85, and his grandson Dylan are quite the amusing pair.
You can tell how well they get along by simply watching them for a few minutes. Dylan watches as his grandfather talks to a group of young passersby and immediately shars a story or two.
"Yeah, he can talk forever," Dylan laughs.
But putting the two of them together at the Washington, D.C. Korean War memorial is a different feeling. If Learn isn’t silent altogether, his tone us uneasy.
And that’s how Dylan was able to help his grandfather during their Friday visit with the WNY Warriors Flight. He was there to push his grandfather — both figuratively and literally — whenever he needed.
On this day, Learn needed the help. It was his first time confronting the memorial and every feeling that came with it.
“We were freezing. It was a cold cold area to fight in. We did not have winter gear. You can see the boots down there, leather boots is what we had. We didn't have no winter gear at all,” Learn recalled.
It has been 62 years, but his voice still gets choked up, no matter how hard he tries to keep it in.
"I'm still there. I was there, and I feel like I’m still there when I come up through this here rope,” Learn said. "It never goes away."
Thankfully, when Learn finds it hard to move forward from his wheelchair, surrounded by the glaring eyes of 19 stone soldiers, Dylan is ready to push.
In fact, he’s already pushing. Learn might even be goading him along after a while.
"I just wanted him to realize how important it is for young people in this country to learn about the history of our nation,” Learn said of his grandson’s participation. "I think it's important, that's why I wanted him to come with me, and I’m glad he wanted to come with me."