LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- It is a trip of a lifetime for some of the World War II veterans: A group of 35 local veterans are headed to Washington to visit the World War II Memorial, in spite of the government shutdown barring entry from the park and other monuments and memorials.
Most of the veterans are around 90 years old, and all 35 served in World War II, seeing a lot of action in both war and peacetime. But one thing that most have not seen is the World War II memorial built in their honor, so this Southern Nevada Honor Flight will help change that.
The veterans are flying into the Baltimore/Washington airport in Maryland, and will rest the rest of the day. Tomorrow, they will be taken to the World War II memorial first thing in the morning. Afterwards, they will visit other memorials, including the Vietnam and Korean War memorials, because some went on to serve in later wars.
Some of these veterans say they've been back to the places they served in World War II. One veteran earlier in the week said he had been back to the beaches of Normandy in his life, and had met president Obama, but the one thing he didn't have a chance to do is see the World War II memorial.
It is a tricky time for the honor flights because of the government shutdown. On October 1, the very first day of the shutdown, a group of veterans that came from an honor flight from Mississippi were temporarily barred from the World War II memorial because the shutdown closed down the national parks and monuments. However, the group was eventually let in.
After that incident, the National Parks Service granted exceptions to the honor flights. Still, the honor flight says no barricades or even bad weather will stop them from seeing the memorials.
When asked if he’d be willing to move the barricades aside himself, World War II veteran Phil Seidman responded with “Absolutely, absolutely. And the guards. And even go to jail if we have to.”
“Now, this may sound a bit political,” said Robert Scaring, another veteran travelling with the Honor Flight, “But I got a kick – after the Republicans closed it down, then the Republicans opened it back up. I mean, to me, it’s just such hypocrisy. But then again, that’s the way it is.”
The veterans will see the memorial on Saturday, and will return Sunday around 1:55 p.m. Friends and Family are encouraged to be at the airport when they arrive. They will be gathering on the second floor of the airport, in the museum.