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Saluting our Veterans through Chicago’s 100th Honor Flight Celebration


Southwest Airlines is celebrating National Military Appreciation Month during the month of May! This is a time to honor veterans and families of service members for their strength, resilience, and tremendous sacrifice. At Southwest, our love for our military runs deep with more than 6,000 veteran Employees, an intentional military/veteran recruitment effort, and partnerships with military-focused community partners, including Honor Flight Network, to address the challenges and needs of our military community. To the countless Employees, Customers, and community members who are current and former service members, we extend our heartfelt thank you for your service to our country.


For 13 years, Southwest has been proud to serve as the official airline of the Honor Flight Network. Through this partnership, we provide complimentary round trip travel bringing military heroes to Washington, D.C, to visit and reflect at their memorials. This past April was an especially exciting time for Honor Flight Chicago, a local hub of Honor Flight Network, as they celebrated their 100th flight. Southwest was thrilled to join in on the occasion, as every one of those flights has been on a Southwest aircraft. Honor Flight Chicago’s mission is to Honor, Thank, and Inspire by building awareness and appreciation of the debt of gratitude America owes its veterans for their service and sacrifice for our nation. The veteran and caregiver passengers aboard the 100th flight were shown nothing but our deepest gratitude and appreciation with a few special Southwest touches.


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Onboard the flight was Southwest Airlines Flight Attendant, Maggie, and her father, Doug – a Vietnam Veteran. Maggie and her Dad were able to experience this Honor Flight trip of a lifetime together! Their experience is guaranteed to put a smile on your face and in your Heart.




Maggie’s Experience:

“Upon walking into the Chicago airport baggage area, shortly after 4:00 a.m. on April 13th, I was greeted with 100s of smiling (masked!) faces of true American Heroes -- our Veterans from WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. I was truly blessed with the opportunity to accompany my Dad, Doug Stetina, on his Honor Flight. My Dad enlisted in the Army during Vietnam and was stationed in France. He was proud to serve our Country and equally as proud to be a very active member of his American Legion. The day started out early and we were met almost immediately with the first of many ‘greats’ of the day -- Southwest’s beautiful Freedom One sat at our gate ready to take these men and women on their day!


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We spent the day visiting the WWII memorial, Lincoln Memorial, and Korean and Vietnam War sites. It was a powerful day full of memories and for the first time my Dad shared some stories of his time during Vietnam. Upon return to Dulles, we were again met with Freedom One as our ride. And wow, what it had to take to make that possible to get the aircraft to and from. Thank you to those who helped make that happen! 


Arriving back in Midway was nothing short of amazing my Dad and all the Veterans were met with one heck of a welcome home, the first welcome home for most of the Vietnam Veterans.  As a 15-year Southwest Airlines Employee and the incredibly proud daughter of an Army veteran, I cannot tell you how amazing this day has been for me to spend with my Dad as part of the Honor Flight Chicago’s 100th flight.


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To see all of the men and women who so bravely served in our military get the honor and recognition they deserve, it was truly absolute honor.”


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