I, along with six other residents of Friendship Village in Schaumburg and 80-some fellow residents of the Chicago area, have just returned from an experience of a lifetime. This trip, sponsored by Honor Flight Chicago, consisted primarily of World War II veterans and was designed to visit the new World War II Memorial in Washington DC, but we also had the opportunity to visit several other famous Washington, D.C., monuments such as the Lincoln Memorial, the Air and Space Museum and the Smithsonian Institution. This entire trip, including meals, was done without any cost to the veterans involved.
My purpose in writing this letter is first to thank Honor Fight Chicago for sponsorship of this program. We were told that these flights take place about three or four times per month. In addition, and even more surprising was the turnout of family members, as well as many other people both military and civilian, who met us both in Washington and at Midway Airport in Chicago. I was told that the crowd in Chicago consisted of well over 2,000 people, thanking us and shaking our hands for our World War II service. In Chicago there were solid lines, three to four people deep, on both sides of the path, all the way from the exit door of the airplane to the exit door of the terminal.
I personally have never seen such a reception and I have never had the opportunity to shake so many hands. My shirt was damp from the many tears that I shed. Again, on behalf of myself and all of the veterans who made the trip, we want to thank you all for being there and thanking us for our service.
Frank J. Dawson