WISCONSINREPORT.COM (11/10/2010) - Honor Flight Chicago has announced that since its inception in 2008, it has sponsored 25 flights to the nation's capital, taking more than 2,000 local World War II veterans to visit their memorial. Although each flight costs $50,000 ($500 per veteran), the veterans from Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana experience a day of tribute and respect at no expense to them.
A highlight of the day is for the veterans to visit the World War II Memorial, a chance to remember, reflect and open up about their experiences of more than 60 years ago.
"On behalf of the City of Chicago, I want to commend Honor Flight Chicago for providing a memorable experience for thousands of deserving Chicago area veterans," said Mayor Richard M. Daley.
"We are proud to help support the efforts of Honor Flight at Midway and O'Hare International Airports, and look forward to continue assisting them for many years to come," Mayor Daley said.
Irv Abramson of Skokie, a decorated Army veteran, said his Honor Flight was a moving experience.
"Sixty years after our unheralded return from the war, Honor Flight Chicago has honored us for our service in an exceptional way. Our trip brought back both fond and sad memories but enforced them in a cherished way," Abramson said.
Monroe Roth of Chicago, a Navy veteran who served in the South Pacific, called his Honor Flight "probably one of the most exciting days of my life." Roth added that it was enlightening to spend the day with other veterans and share experiences with them.
A highlight of the day with Honor Flight Chicago is Mail Call, where each veteran receives an envelope of letters and cards from family, friends, schoolchildren, and grateful strangers. When their flight arrives back in Chicago at Midway Airport, they are greeted by several thousand cheering supporters.
There are also bagpipes, color guards, motorcycle clubs, student groups, and active duty military personnel to give these veterans the welcome home of a lifetime!
Mary Pettinato, president and co-founder of Honor Flight Chicago, noted that there are more than 1,500 local veterans whose average age is 88, waiting for their chance to fly with Honor Flight.
"We thank all of our supporters and volunteers who have helped to make these flights possible including our partners Southwest Airlines, Midway Airport and the USO of Illinois," Pettinato said. "We hope that the community will continue to support Honor Flight Chicago so that we can give all of our senior heroes their day of honor."
Members from Honor Flight Chicago will be participating in the city's Veterans Day commemoration at Soldier Field November 11.
Honor Flight Chicago, an all-volunteer, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, was founded in February 2008 to pay tribute to World War II veterans by flying them all expense-paid to see their memorial in Washington D.C.. Honor Flight Chicago honors WWII veterans from Chicago as well as from the areas north to Wisconsin, west to Rockford, south to route 24, and east to northwest Indiana. More information is available at www.honorflightchicago.org.
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