A U.S. Congress that cannot do its job and lets government agencies come to a halt did not diminish the patriotism citizens feel toward their veterans.
Hundreds of family, friends and strangers waved flags, held red, white and blue balloons and chanted USA at Midway Airport Oct. 2 to welcome World War II veterans from throughout the Chicago area returning from Washington, D.C. on an Honor Flight.
Maureen and Bob Wott of Burr Ridge waited happily for Maureen’s parents to get off the airplane and make their way through the welcome line. Both parents, Marie, 89, and Mike Lynch, 93, served in the military during World War II.
Despite the partial government shutdown, the veterans were able to visit the monuments in the nation’s capital during one whirlwind day.
“I was disappointed with the whole government situation,” Maureen Wott said. “But knowing the veterans and their resilience, I knew they would find a way.”
“They were really eager to take the trip,” Wott said. “They are getting up in age and hardly travel at all. This is probably the last trip they will take.”
Tom Grovotsky of Mokena picked up his friend, veteran Albert Gencur of Joliet, at 3:30 a.m. Wednesday to take him to the airport for the Honor Flight. By 8:45 p.m. he was back at the airport to await his return.
Grovotsky knew the veterans had toured the monuments, but the possibility that they might not because of the impasse in Congress was an atrocity, he said.
“These veterans sure deserve respect when they show up in Washington,” Grovotsky said.
“We elected (the legislators) and they are there to take care of us citizens,” he said.