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Flight days always create iconic moments for me. Sometimes they are emotional, like a veteran being surprised by his family at our Welcome Home. And sometimes they are subtler, but still just as powerful.
This past Wednesday featured one of those understated moments.
As our 103 senior war heroes took in the Korean War Memorial, I watched as a soccer team filled with 14-year-old boys goofed around close by. The kids were wrestling with each other and, in general, acting like 14-year-olds tend to act. But then something happened.
One of the boys watched as one of our veterans was greeted by a handful of strangers. One by one, the strangers walked up to the veteran, shook his hand and thanked him for his service. A few of the other teenagers saw the boy staring, so they looked as well. Suddenly, the goofing around stopped. And as I stood watching, three of the soccer players left their teammates and walked up to the same veteran. And one-by-one, they shook his hand and said “Thank you.”
It was an inspiring moment, one the boys will hopefully remember for years. I know I will.
That was one of hundreds of great memories from Wednesday’s flight, which was the 84th for Honor Flight Chicago. Keep reading to meet some of the veterans who flew with us and find out what iconic moments they had. And as always, thank you for your continued support.
Serving with pride,
Mary Pettinato
CEO, Co-Founder, and Janitor

“There are not enough adjectives to describe the day, and not enough words to tell how amazing it was.”

David Byster, Korean War veteran
Read more testimonials.


Every veteran who flew with us Wednesday had an inspiring story to tell. Read about some of those stories below, and thank you to all the volunteers who helped compile these stories.

“My day was so beautiful. It was really something. I have never seen anything like that."”

Chas Griffea, Korean War veteran
Read more testimonials.

Honor. Thank. Inspire.

Honor Flight Chicago recognizes the bravery of our nation’s senior war veterans with a journey to Washington, D.C. The trip is one day. The experience is life-changing.