Above: Radarman Third Class Ronald Line waves upon his return to Chicago after his Honor Flight to Washington. Line is a Lansing resident and a member of American Legion Post 697. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)
CHICAGO, Ill. (October 20, 2023) – As the sharp sound of bagpipes bounced around Midway Airport’s hallways, 13 local residents that are a part of, or connected to, the Lansing American Legion gripped their American flags and readied themselves to welcome home one of their own.
The returning veteran was Ron Line, a Lansing resident who’d spent the day in Washington D.C. as part of Honor Flight Chicago’s 112th flight. Honor Flight Chicago flies senior veterans to Washington for a one-of-a-kind day of memorials, thanks, patriotism, and honor. Wednesday’s flight honored 110 veterans in total.
Radarman Third Class Ronald Line is a member of American Legion Post 697, having served in the U.S. Navy from 1960 – 1966. For two years, Line was assigned to the USS Lake Champlain, a guided missile cruiser on the east coast. During Line’s assignment, the ship served as the primary recovery vessel for Alan B. Shepard, America’s first man in space. The Lake Champlain also provided support during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
On Wednesday night, hundreds gathered in the baggage claim area at Midway Airport to welcome home the veterans. As a patriotic band played in the background and a photo slideshow gave details of each returning veterans’ service, families pulled out hand-written signs and American flags in anticipation of their loved ones’ arrival.
Prior to their arrival at the baggage claim area, however, veterans traveled through a long hallway, flanked by flags held by members of local veterans organizations. In special celebration of one of their own, 13 members the Lansing Legion family took their places in the hallway and greeted the parade of veterans.
Walking with his guardian Maureen Grady-Perovich — a stalwart Honor Flight volunteer — Line said the following of his experience: “It was fantastic. Really amazing. It brings tears to your eyes.”
112th Honor Flight photo gallery
Photos from the Honor Flight reception at Midway Airport on October 18 are below. Click on an image to view it full-screen: