CHICAGO (CBS) –– A Chicago businessman wants to bring crowds of people to the airport to honor some of the nation’s greatest treasures, reports WBBM’s Julie Mann.

David Hockberg escorted veterans of World War II on a journey to Washington D.C. to see the memorial built in their honor. It’s a free trip for the veterans arranged by Honor flight Chicago several times a year.

Hockberg says the day he was on the flight, the government was shutdown and the media spotlight was on the closed memorial and the veterans who were determined to see it.

Thousands showed up at Midway airport to cheer on the 80 and 90 year olds on their returned to Chicago. He says 3,000 people were in baggage claim to welcome the men and women on the flight.

He believes that should happen every time Honor Flight Chicago returns from Washington D.C. with several dozen veterans of World War II on board.

He is looking for businesses, organizations, schools and individuals who are willing to commit time and transportation to provide the human equity needed to make the welcome home memorable for each one of the veterans. He says this is a rewarding experience for anyone who takes part. It’s a chance to meet living history and an opportunity that is slowly ending. He says given the age of the veterans, in the coming years there won’t been any left to thank in person.

There are 25,000 WWII veterans in the Chicago area eligible to take the free flight to see the memorial built in their honor.

There’s a link to Honor Flight Chicago’s website To reach David Hockberg about volunteering to welcome home the veterans call 312-896-2111