It says a lot about many World War II and Korean War veterans that when they return from their Honor Flight Chicago Day of Honor trip to Washington, D.C., they can’t stop thanking others.

Chuck Benson is one of those veterans. “From 4 a.m. till night, it became something special and unforgettable,” he said about his Day of Honor. “The memorials, the presentations, and the awesome volunteers made for an incredible day.”

The “reality of the Korean War Memorial,” as Benson put it, hit home for him during his visit to Washington. “I remembered slogging through the rice paddies,” he recalled. Chuck was a sergeant in the Marine Corps from 1951-54, serving in the U.S. and Korea. He was a wireman, laying and troubleshooting lines and working in a communications bunker.

Arriving back at Midway Airport at the end of his Day of Honor was also meaningful for Benson, but in an entirely different way.

“The amount of people was overwhelming,” he said. “The music and the cheering, the handshakes and the thanks, the hugs from my family. I felt very special and lucky. I can’t thank you enough.”

Benson has already told other veterans not to miss an opportunity to experience what he did.

“It enhanced my faith in Americans and all fellow beings,” he added. “That so many could give so much time to honor strangers is awesome and inspiring. God bless the volunteers.”

“That so many could give so much time to honor strangers is awesome and inspiring.”

Chuck Benson, Korean War veteran