World War II, Korean War veterans take honor flight to Washington

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Tension between the United States and North Korea is all too familiar for a group of Illinois veterans who took an honor flight Wednesday to Washington, D.C., to see memorials built in their honor.

Five World War II veterans and 104 Korean War veterans flew to our nation's capital Wednesday morning on an all-expense-paid trip sponsored by the non-profit Honor Flight Chicago.

"Each one of these guys, with the medals and the places they've served... Getting together like this is really something to see," said Don Luhman, who fought in WWII.

Wednesday's trip was timely, considering the strained relationship between the U.S. and North Korea. Army Veteran Bill Lillwitz, 89, fought in the Korean War. He shared some insight with ABC7 Eyewitness News.

"I feel that what our president should do, and what our other presidents didn't do, is go to China and have a big talk with China about North Korea. It's on their border, and China shouldn't allow what's going on right now," Lillwitz said.

Before the 109 veterans boarded the chartered Southwest Airlines flight, they enjoyed breakfast and live music in Terminal B at Midway International Airport. They will return to Chicago Wednesday night.

Honor Flight Chicago pays for veterans to take these honor flights. CEO and co-founder Mary Pettinato said the non-profit is in need of donations.

"Please help us fly more of our WWII and Korean War vets. It costs us $1,200 per veteran to fly," Pettinato said.

Wednesday's trip was the 80th honor flight out of Chicago. More than 7,200 veterans have been flown to Washington through this program.
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