News - McHenry County

McHenry High School to participate in Honor Flight

One teacher, three students planning to fly out with veterans

A pre-flight planning meeting was held August 2, 2022, at McHenry High School Upper Campus to prepare for the 2022 Honor Flight for McHenry County veterans.

Honor Flights give veterans the opportunity to travel to the nation’s capital, and one including veterans from northern Illinois is planned for later this month.

By partnering with McHenry Community High School and its students, that planned flight from Aug. 25 through Aug. 28 also aims to teach students about veterans and the wars in which they have fought.

Three McHenry High School students and a teacher are set to go with the group to D.C., said Amy Maciaszek, District 156′s coordinator of community engagement.

Plans are still being worked out on how they can document the three days, she said.

Even before the veterans take off, however, the school is getting involved.

The McHenry High School Upper Campus, 4724 W. Crystal Lake Road, will be the staging point for both legs of trip, organizers said.

Veterans and organizers at the U.S. Capitol in 2019, the last time an Honor Flight from the local chapter was undertaken, officials said.

Coming back, organizers are planning a motorcycle escort, said Aaron Stain, a board member for The Veterans Network Committee of Northern Illinois.

Anyone who would like to welcome the honor flight veterans home can meet them at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday Aug. 28 at Milwaukee’s Mitchell Airport, Stain said.

Then, a community celebration starts 2:30 p.m. that day at the McHenry High School Upper Campus to welcome the veterans home.

The McHenry High team hopes to document the trip with video, audio and photos during the the veterans’ time at in the nation’s capital city, Maciaszek said.

Plans are to tour 13 special places during the trip, including war monuments and Arlington National Cemetery.

The trip is open to all veterans, but the committee prioritizes World War II veterans, followed by Korean War and Vietnam War veterans. This is the first Honor Flight for the local group since 2019 because of COVID-19.

“We’d really like to grow this and make it an annual event,” Stain said.

Sean Sterner, MCHS social science division chairman, said he is glad to be a part of providing veterans with the experience, particularly Vietnam veterans.

“They didn’t get the welcome home they deserved,” Sterner said of Vietnam veterans.

Social science classes at McHenry will focus on the Vietnam War era to tie in to the Honor Flight event. Sterner said many students don’t realize that Vietnam veterans weren’t celebrated when they returned to the U.S. because of the controversy surrounding the war.

The Aug. 28 reception is open to the public. The high school band, choir, cheerleaders and dance team all are planning to participate.

Veterans Network Committee members are still looking for interested veterans to go on the trip, as well as anyone interested in participating in the motorcycle escort on Aug. 28 to bring veterans back to McHenry High School.

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