Korean War veteran Don Borem was overwhelmed by the efforts of Honor Flight Chicago and the thousands of supporters who help the organization commemorate the sacrifices made by U.S. servicemen in the fight for freedom.
“The Honor Flight Chicago day was without a doubt one of the most beautiful and heart-warming experiences of my entire life,” Don said. “It was beyond anything I could ever imagine.”
Borem served as a Navy Aviation Machinist Mate, Petty Officer 3rd Class, aboard the USS Currituck AV-7 based out of Norfolk, Va. When he flew with Honor Flight Chicago, he joined more than 100 fellow veterans on an excursion to Washington, D.C., for a whirlwind tour of the capital’s museums and war memorials. He did not know what to expect, and initially, the idea of the trek was daunting.
“To be honest, when I first heard that I would need to be at Midway Airport at 4 a.m. and then fly to D.C. and back all in one day, I was doubtful if Honor Flight Chicago would be for me,” he said. “ After talking to a volunteer, I decided to give it a try, and am I ever happy I did.”
“Those glorious memories will always bring a tear to my eye when I think of how many wonderful people did so much to honor the vets from so many years ago.”
Borem and his fellow veterans saw numerous memorials, including the moving Korean War Memorial and World War II Memorial. The return to Midway Airport topped off an emotional day.
“The number of people that were there – men, women and children, young and old – were so very sincere,” Borem said. “The bands playing. The cheering. The flag waving. The hugs, and sometimes kisses, from such a large number of people was unbelievable. The whole thing took my breath away.”
Borem appreciated the efforts of the hundreds of volunteers who worked to make the day a success, he said. And he was impressed by the professionalism of Honor Flight Chicago.
“The amount of work, planning and effort that made that whole day, from beginning to end, is something that will be etched in my memory as long as I live,” Borem said. “Those glorious memories will always bring a tear to my eye when I think of how many wonderful people did so much to honor the vets from so many years ago. God bless them one and all.”
All and all, the uplifting voyage was worth waking up so early in the morning.
“That day made me proud,” he said. “Proud to have served my country and proud to be an American. A great big ‘Thank You’ to everyone who was involved in putting on and running this wonderful program.”
“The Honor Flight Chicago day was without a doubt one of the most beautiful and heart-warming experiences of my entire life.”