WWII vets visit memorial closed by shutdown - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

WWII vets visit memorial closed by shutdown

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The shutdown nearly denied World War II vets access to the memorial in their honor. More than 100 arrived in Washington D.C. Tuesday as part of honor flight and were met with barricades.

They got through. Another group says they're prepared to get in tomorrow.

Tuesday morning World War II veterans arrived at the memorial in their honor in Washington D.C. and were stopped by gates and yellow tape.

The monument was closed due to the government shutdown.

The vets broke through anyway to see what they've been waiting to see for nearly 70 years.

"We hope that they can get things worked out," said World War II veteran Rayford Edgar.

The vets were a part of the honor flight program out of Mississippi and Iowa. Thirty-five hundred nationwide are set to visit this month including a group out of Austin.

National park police say the memorial along with other national parks will remain closed until the shutdown is resolved.

World War II veteran Marvin Kanter flew to D.C. with Honor Flight last year.

"They should open it for the veterans. They're playing games. They're taking advantage of the veterans," said Marvin Kanter, World War II veteran.

He says he's proud of the vets for taking what's theirs.

"To get there and have barricades, that's not right, not at all. Matter of fact that would start another war," Kanter said.

Vets with Honor Flight Chicago fly into D.C. Wednesday. Honor Flight Chicago CEO and co-founder Mary Pettinato says a local senator and five state representatives will be with them.

"They'll move the barricades and help us push the wheelchairs. We have 91 vets, average age is 90 and we have 91 wheelchairs," Pettinato said.

Pettinato says changing the schedule is not an option.

"We believe the time is now and waiting until April or May we may have lost a number of these heroes," she said.

Kanter would love to be there.

"If I had been in a wheelchair, I would have kept bumping it 'till it broke. But if I could stand up, it would go down I guarantee you. I didn't appreciate that at all," Kanter said.

Each Honor Flight costs $40,000. The chairman of Honor Flight Austin says he will be prepared to get through the barricades when the next flight lands on October 11.

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