This was the welcome home 94 World War II Veterans heard as they arrived back at Midway Airport after a day spent in Washington D.C.
Among the group, were three Naperville residents who had the chance to relive history together.
“I would say it was a super, super fabulous day. I wish everyone could participate in it, it was just fabulous,” said World War II Veteran, John Prescott.
John Prescott, James Stahr and Dr. Robert Reschke were all serving overseas during World War II, and when they returned home, there wasn’t much fanfare.
But, thanks to Honor Flight Chicago, their time for recognition has come. The group organizes special trips to Washington D.C., so Veterans can visit the World War II Memorial and remember their time spent over 70 years ago.
“There’s all sorts of other things that go into this, we do something called mail call, where they can read mail from their families, they’re honored in Washington, they have a water cannon salute when they come in, they’re greeted by people in D.C., at every turn there’s something that’s honoring them for what they did for us and the reason that we’re all here is because of what they did,” said Jody Kopsky, President of Honor Flight Chicago.
In addition to gathering donations for the flights, volunteers organize a “welcome home celebration” after every trip to D.C., and for this group of vets, it was more than they ever imagined.
“I knew there would be twenty people maybe, I didn’t expect two thousand, I was surprised at that,” said James Stahr, World War II Veteran.
“I didn’t anticipate this much of a crowd of people, there are a lot of people who aren’t really related to anyone here,” said Dr. Robert Reschke, World War II Veteran.
Having so many people turn out for the celebration made it even more touching for the vets’ loved ones.
“He was really looking forward to this for months and so I can imagine that, all though he’s worn-out, he’s going to be thrilled to tell us what his day was like in D.C.,” said Dean Reschke, son of Dr. Robert Reschke.
“They’re getting recognition for their part in the war effort and they deserve it,” said Rachel Maletich, daughter of James Stahr.
Honor Flight Chicago has flown over 5 thousand Veterans to D.C. since the start of the program.
For more information about Honor Flight Chicago, or to refer a World War II Veteran, visit honorflightchicago.org.
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