(CBS) — Some of our nation’s heroes are about to get the opportunity of a lifetime.
Veteran Lou Kueltzo is 81 years old and he showed off his strength by doing 40 pushups for our cameras.
Lou is one of 65,000 Korean War vets living in Illinois. CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole shows us the great news they just learned today.
Lou Kueltzo recalls his time in the Navy during the Korean War with pride.
“I was a skinny little runt I probably weighed 130 pounds,” he laughed.
Art Edelstein’s Korean War memories are similar too.
“Very proud of what I did,” he said. “Still proud of what I did.”
Lasting only three years, The Korean War began in 1950 when Soviet backed North Korea invaded what’s now South Korea. heroic memories of the World War II were fresh when thousands of Americans enlisted.
“We were very patriotic World War II had ended and we felt good about that and we said now it’s our turn,” Kueltzo said.
When casualties began to mount, American officials worked out what was at best a make shift peace, and thousands of servicemen quietly returned home from what some call the forgotten war.
“World War II you were a hero, Vietnam you were stuck in the jungle for no reason, Korea was oh, ok,” Edelstein said.
“Hey we lost 38,000 men and there was 250,000 plus wounded,” Kueltzo saod.
For eight years honor flight Chicago has been taking the aging soldiers of World War II free of charge to the nation’s capital for often emotional visits to that war’s memorial. Today, they proudly announced they’ll now do the same for Korean War vets like Lou and Art, Americans who in their youth, didn’t hesitate to serve their country.
Most of the Korean War vets are in their early 80s now. Honor Flight Chicago has seven trips scheduled to Washington D.C. free of charge this year starting in April. If you’d like to sign up, visit honorflightchicago.org.