Daughter’s stubbornness pays off with father’s Honor Flight
Honor Flight volunteer Pat Liss joined her father, George Lyons, on a trip to Washington, D.C., on Aug. 1. | Photo courtesy of Pat Liss.
NAMES: Pat Liss and George Lyons
BEST KNOWN AS: Honor Flight Chicago volunteer and World War II veteran
HOMETOWN: Burr Ridge
Updated: September 10, 2012 12:32PM
BURR RIDGE — For years, George Lyons of Burr Ridge shrugged off the idea of taking an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C.
“I’m not one for accolades,” the 88-year-old World War II veteran said.
But Lyons’ daughter, Pat Liss of Burr Ridge, is as persistent as her father is humble. A volunteer with Honor Flight Chicago, Liss tried for years to get her father on one of the day-long trips.
“Each time, I saw the face of my father in each one of these men,” Liss said.
She finally made it happen on Aug. 1 and even went along for the ride as her father’s guardian.
“Could you imagine any more of an honor for me?” Liss said.
Liss has participated in many Honor Flights, but until now, she’s always stayed on the ground. Every three weeks, she arrives early in the morning at Midway Airport to greet the veterans and prepare them for their trip. Often, she’s also part of the crowd that welcomes them home.
Lyons said for him and many veterans, that welcome back at Midway, with cheering crowds, signs and bands, was long awaited and much deserved.
Lyons served in the United States Army from 1943 to 1945.
“Our outfit landed in France and we fought all the way to Czechoslovakia,” Lyons said.
When the war ended, the people in that Czechoslovakian town were grateful to the soldiers. The village’s leader gathered eggs from all of the villagers to present to Lyons and his fellow troops.
“That’s one thing that has always stuck with me,” Lyons said.
But Lyons said he and his fellow soldiers didn’t receive such treatment when they arrived home. After he arrived back at Camp Grant in Rockford, he was left on his own to make it the rest of the way home to Cicero.
“I hopped a street car,” he said. “There were no bands or anything like that.”
His Honor Flight made up for all of that.
“They really treat you like a king,” Lyons said.
“Nothing could compare to being on that trip,” said Liss, who is more dedicated now than ever to providing the experience for America’s veterans.
“She’s a good girl,” said Lyons. He said he is proud of his daughter, who has always been a kind and giving person, and just a little bit stubborn.
And for that, he’s thankful.
“The trip was just wonderful,” he said.