Last-minute notice: Public invited to welcome five Vietnam veterans home to Lansing

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Wednesday, August 18, around 9:30pm

by Melanie Jongsma

LANSING, Ill. (August 17, 2021) – Honor Flight Chicago’s flights were put on hold last year in deference to the coronavirus and the heightened vulnerability of our veteran population. The Honor Flight season typically begins in April, but 2021 flights were again delayed, out of an abundance of caution. Wednesday, August 18, will be the first Honor Flight since October 2019.

Five Lansing veterans will be aboard.

Vietnam veterans John Bush, Tony Delaurentis, Marvin Metzger, Ronald Raczak, and William Sonntag are being honored for their service with a day in Washington, DC.

Heroes escorting heroes

Whenever a Lansing resident is on Honor Flight Chicago, the American Legion Riders from Edward Schultz Chapter 697 volunteer to escort that veteran home at the end of the day. Wednesday’s flight marks the first occasion for an Honor Flight escort in 22 months, though in May this year they did provide a hero’s welcome and escort for Captain DJ White when he returned to Lansing after serving in Ukraine.

The welcome they deserve

The community is invited to join the Legion Riders in welcoming these five veterans home to Lansing after their day of honor this Wednesday. The Riders will gather at Sunrise Health Foods (17650 Torrence Avenue) around 9:30pm and wait to receive word that the guests of honor are on their way.

Honor Flight participants typically are driven from Midway to Lansing by family. Representatives from the Legion Riders, Lansing Police Department, and Lansing Fire Department meet them as they exit the highway onto Torrence. After a brief welcome in the parking lot of Sunrise Health Foods, the veterans are given a hero’s escort — with sirens, lights, and entourage — to their homes or to the American Legion.

No RSVP is required. Anyone who wishes to join the welcome is invited to meet at Sunrise Health Foods at 9:30pm.

Related: A look at Honor Flight

Related: What Honor Flight Chicago is all about