Friday, October 4, 2013
Despite the federal government shutdown, which has forced national parks and memorials to close, a group of Kansas World War II veterans will head to Washington, D.C., Wednesday aboard the next Honor Flight.
Volunteers helping to coordinate the visit to the World War II Memorial said Friday there simply is no time for these veterans -- most of them in their 90s -- to postpone their trip until politicians put their bickering aside.
"These men and women deserve respect," Herb Duncan, a Kansas Honor Flight volunteer said. "That's all we're asking."
An Honor Flight carrying Kansas World War II veterans will depart Wichita's Mid-Continent Airport early Wednesday morning. A flight from Kansas City will carry Kansas veterans to Washington next week as well..
They will visit the memorial even if the government is still shut down and the memorial is closed as a result.
"To quote a Navy historian, 'Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead,'" Duncan said.
The Kansas group will not be the first to visit the memorial since the shutdown began. Earlier this week, a group of Honor Flight veterans from Mississippi moved barricades so they could visit the memorial. Other groups followed suit.
"It's really a national embarrassment to bar our Kansas veterans -- our American veterans -- the World War II guys -- to bar them from visiting their war memorial," Duncan said.
He hopes enough citizens call their Representatives and Senators that they'll end the shutdown by next week.
"And I pray the Good Lord will bless those folks -- our politicians -- with some wisdom and common sense and to put our nation first," he said.
The Kanas Honor Flight leaves Wichita at 4:15 a.m. Wednesday. Kansans are especially encouraged to be at the airport at 7:45 p.m. next Friday to give the veterans a hero's welcome home.