CHICAGO (CBS) — A history making flight taking place Wednesday at Midway Airport. It could actually be said as her-story.

For the first time ever – female veterans are filling all the seats for the honor flight to Washington D.C.

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Six dozen women who served now being celebrated with a special flight by Operation HerStory.

“I’m just ecstatic to go,” said Debra Emery.

While in D.C., the group will see landmarks dedicated in their honor, including the Women’s Memorial and the Vietnam Women’s Memorial.

“It’s wonderful to have women recognized for all the things they did that were sometimes behind the scenes. or sometimes just ignored,” said U.S. Army veteran Carol Ann Macola.

“I’m glad I was there and I’m glad I’m here now,” added Air Force veteran Mary Santine.

The pandemic delayed the flight by nearly a year. But you couldn’t tell there was any disappointment from the excitement shown by the veterans on Wednesday morning.

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A 99-year-old veteran dressed in her Army coat for the trip. She wasn’t the only one wearing her uniform to show her pride.

Before today, only 3% of the 7,200 women veterans living in Illinois went to Washington D.C. for the Honor Flight.

“They didn’t go because some of them didn’t know they were veterans at all because they didn’t have the same benefits as men. So they just didn’t think they qualified,” said Air Force veteran and event organizer Ginny Narsete. “The second was a lot of them would relinquish their seat for a man because they didn’t think they was worthy.”

“Maybe our time has come to not be in the background anymore,” said Santine.

The veterans will return to Chicago Wednesday night.



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CBS 2 Chicago Staff