Honor Flight Chicago to begin flying Vietnam War veterans too

 
 
Updated 11/10/2018 5:07 PM
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  • This iconic April 1968 file photo shows the first sergeant of A Company, 101st Airborne Division, guiding a medevac helicopter through the jungle foliage to pick up casualties suffered during a five-day patrol near Hue.

    This iconic April 1968 file photo shows the first sergeant of A Company, 101st Airborne Division, guiding a medevac helicopter through the jungle foliage to pick up casualties suffered during a five-day patrol near Hue. AP Photo/Art Greenspon

Honor Flight Chicago, a nonprofit that has flown more than 8,000 World War II and Korean War veterans to Washington, D.C., over the past 11 years, has decided to begin accepting veterans of the Vietnam War era.

The organization, one of many across the county, will begin including Vietnam-era veterans in April on their first flight of the 2019 season, according to a news release.

"This is a milestone moment in the history of our organization," said Mary Pettinato, CEO and co-founder of Honor Flight Chicago. "More importantly, it's our time to recognize and thank these too-long disrespected heroes who served during one of the most difficult times in America's history."

Honor Flight Chicago flies veterans to see the memorials in Washington six times a year and has around 100 veterans on each flight.

During the daylong trip veterans visit war and military branch memorials as well as the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center, which houses the Enola Gay, according to Honor Flight Chicago's website. They also experience a special ceremony of thanks at the World War II memorial and get to open dozens of letters thanking them for their service on their flight back home.

Honor Flight Lake County, which organized three trips in 2018, has already been accepting applications from Vietnam War-era veterans for a couple of years. However, World War II veterans supersede all other applicants, according to the group's website.

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