Celebrating generations of military service

JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. — Three generations of Lundins gathered at the National World War II Memorial May 24, 2017, to celebrate the military service of family members, past and present.

It all began when 1st Lt. Nicholas Lundin, the 480th Intelligence, Reconnaissance and Surveillance Wing chief of current operations, was planning his promotion ceremony. He learned early in the process that his grandfather was going to be in Washington, D.C. as part of an honor flight at the same time as his promotion.

“Luckily, the timing matched up so that instead of just getting up and knocking out a ceremony, it was something worthwhile,” the younger Lundin said. “It was a great overall experience for everybody involved.”

Nicholas’ grandfather served in the Pacific in the U.S. Navy during World War II and was selected to travel to the nation’s Capitol through an honor flight program in Northeast Indiana. The program affords WWII veterans the opportunity to fly for free to visit and reflect at their respective memorial.

This was the elder Lundin’s first time visiting the WWII monument, and he said it was the perfect backdrop for his grandson’s promotion ceremony.

“I’m happy to be here and help pin on his bars,” said Ray Lundin, Nicholas’ grandfather. “I really felt honored to be here and proud of his accomplishments.”

During the honor flight, veterans are accompanied by “Guardian” volunteers who fly with them and escort them throughout the trip, which is a role Nicholas’ dad was honored to fulfill.

“I really have been looking forward to this, both my dad and I have really been talking about this for the last month and a half,” said Michael Lundin, Nicholas’ father. “I’ve learned more about what his military career entailed of, and this opportunity helped draw all of that out. To come here and see my son … I’m certainly proud of him and what he’s accomplished, along with my dad.”

The officer presiding over Lundin’s promotion ceremony was honored to be a part of the significant family event.

“When someone asks you to be a part of this and recognize the transition in service … it is a huge honor,” said Lt. Col. Brian Webster, noting the significance of being at the WWII memorial in conjunction with Lundin’s grandfather’s honor flight.

“I’m really honored that Nick asked me to be a part of this,” he said.

Underneath the Pacific portion of the WWII monument, 1st Lt. Lundin’s new rank was pinned on by his father and grandfather. A crowd of veterans and guardians watched the ceremony and came up afterward to congratulation the new captain.