The 21st Show

All-Female Flight To Honor Women Veterans From Illinois


Between 1940 and 1975, hundreds of thousands of women served in the United States military as nurses, typists, and in other supporting roles. Now, Operation HerStory aims to recognize these women with an all-female honor flight.  

Honor flights take veterans to Washington D.C. to visit different war memorials. Ginny Narsete, the chair of Operation HerStory and retired Air Force Master Sergeant, says many women didn't go on these flights for decades because they felt unworthy compared to male veterans.

Amelia Cunningham, a Korean War veteran, flew on a co-ed honor flight out of Chicago last year. Serving as a typist, Cunningham says she felt she didn't deserve recognition for her service for a long time. When she had the opportunity to go on the honor flight, she says she learned an important lesson from fellow veterans.  

"They told me, 'You signed up. You did what you were asked to do. You gave your time. You gave your service. And therefore, you deserve the thank you,'" she says. "So now, I got a new attitude. So when someone says 'thank you for your service,' I say, 'thank you for your appreciation.'" 

Narsete says she and her team have been partnering with various veteran groups across the state to identify and invite female veterans from World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War to participate. 

While the day trip isn't until fall, Narsete says 75 female veterans have already signed up, and they're still accepting donations to help fund the trip.

"The whole meaning behind [the all-female honor flight] is women bonding," she says.

Guests: Ginny Narsete, Chair of Operation HerStory and Retired Air Force Master Sergeant, Served in Vietnam from 1973 to 1975. Amelia Cunningham, Korean War Veteran who flew with a co-ed flight out of Chicago last year.

Prepared for web by WILL intern Sidney Madden

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