Speaking without a voice


Veterans who fly to Washington, D.C. with Honor Flight Chicago and are recognized for their service are asked afterward if they would be willing to share their experience with other veterans who haven’t yet received their day of honor. Many veterans say yes. Others cite health issues as a reason they’d rather not speak. [...]

An experience of a lifetime


Tom Quinn thought he was prepared for his Honor Flight Chicago trip to Washington, D.C. Like many veterans, he had heard stories about it. Now that his trip is over, he has some important advice for those yet to go. “I would tell every veteran I know that it is an experience of a [...]

Tears in my eyes


Tony Pirello, who served his country during the Korean War, was overwhelmed with the gratitude he received during Honor Flight Chicago’s 77th flight to Washington, D.C., a day-long journey to thank veterans for their sacrifice. The Chicago resident served in the U.S. Army from 1953 to 1955 as a small-arms instructor and attended the [...]

Greeted like a hero


As a Korean War veteran who served in the New York Army National Guard’s 27th Division from 1953 to 1955, Jack Okesson felt a duty to protect his family and his community. That’s why it was so moving when those people recognized his sacrifice as part of Honor Flight Chicago’s 77th flight to Washington, [...]

An unexpected reward


Thaddeus “Ted” Hillbruner never saw any combat during the Korean War. That’s why he was even more surprised by the hero’s treatment he received on May 10 as part of Honor Flight Chicago’s 77th flight to Washington, D.C. “I never thought that we (veterans) not in actual combat would ever be so rewarded,” he [...]

A birthday to remember


Amador “Amie” Hoffman thought his Honor Flight experience would be informational, albeit maybe a bit boring. Boy, was he wrong. “My expectations were met and widely surpassed,” Hoffman said. “I would do it again — in a heartbeat. The whole day and experience were memorable!” What made the day more unique for Hoffman was the [...]

Meet ‘The Bazooka Brothers’


Identical twins Tom and Tony Bezouska served together in the Army for more than two years during the Korean War. The two — nicknamed “The Bazooka Brothers” because of their last name — spent roughly ten months in the 187th Airborne Combat Regimental Team. During that time, they made jumps from four different types [...]

Sharing her story


The scrapbook sits in Miljan Akin’s home, a source of memories and inspiration for the 84-year-old. Inside the scrapbook rests a collection of letters from family members, friends and complete strangers thanking Akin for her service in the Air Force during the Korean War. She takes a few letters out from a bursting envelope [...]

The power of words and photos


When Frank Akin arrived home from a jam-packed day visiting Washington, D.C., with Honor Flight Chicago, he was not empty-handed. The 85-year-old former Air Force Airman 1st Class returned with a packet filled with dozens of letters of gratitude for him and his service. Akin served in the Air Force with his wife, Miljan, [...]

A transformational experience


When Anthony Repeta arrived at Midway Airport in the early hours of May 11, 2016, he didn’t feel all that special. He was just a “sleepy old Navy veteran” on his way to Washington, D.C. As he sat alongside roughly 100 other veterans at their flight gate, Repeta was kept awake by a trio [...]

Watching the pain slip away


Joseph Yi was born in South Korea but moved to the United States when he was 10 years old. When the Korean War broke out, Yi volunteered to support and serve the U.S. A private first class in the Marine Corps, Yi played a key role for the U.S. during prisoner exchange between the [...]