CHICAGO — More than 100 veterans returned home to Chicago after touring war memorials in Washington D.C. Wednesday night.

For 118 military service members, the trip was the honor of a lifetime.

Vietnam Navy veteran Mike Mahoney called the all-expense-paid journey “phenomenal.”

“This is one of the greatest things to ever happen in my life,” Mahoney said.

Four WWII, 13 Korean and 101 Vietnam war vets took off early Wednesday morning to tour the nation’s capital. For many, it was a time to reflect on era’s past while pondering what has become.

U.S. Army veteran Cpl. Wade Cooper Jr. said he was honored to participate.

“It’s well-deserved,” he said. “And I really appreciate it.”

Watch WGN’s Patrick Elwood full story in the video player above.