METHUEN, Mass. — From Staff and Wire Service Reports
WASHINGTON – World War II and other veterans visiting Washington this week as a part of the Honor Flight Network have been told their war memorials will be closed during their visit due to the federal government shutdown.
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, called on Congress and President Obama to pass an appropriations bill opening up war memorials and monuments.
“This week, a group of our nation’s finest, World War II veterans who risked everything so that we might have a better life, will be making their way to Washington for the trip of a lifetime—an all-expenses-paid ‘Honor Flight’ to see their war memorials for the first time,” Cornyn said. “But in an unacceptable turn of events, they’ve been told by the National Park Service that these memorials will be barricaded due to the federal government shutdown. Never should men of this caliber receive this kind of treatment in our nation’s capital.”
According to the Honor Flight Network, 3,560 veterans are scheduled to visit Washington on Honor Flight trips during the month of October. Five of these flights will bring veterans from Texas, including 41 World War II veterans, ages 84 to 96, from the Dallas-Fort Worth region this week.
“It is beyond belief that these deserving men and women have waited decades to see their memorials and were selected for this trip of a lifetime, to discover they may not be able to see their memorial,” said James McLaughlin, Chairman of the Honor Flight Network.
On Tuesday a group of veterans piled off chartered buses in front of the World War II Memorial, some in wheelchairs, some using canes, all determined to pay homage to each other and their fallen comrades from more than half a century ago. Metal barricades and signs about a closure due to the shutdown of the federal government awaited them.