Honor Flights for World War II Veterans Continue Despite Shutdown
Honor Flights are continuing to arrive despite the shutdown. The Honor Flight Network is a non-profit organization created solely to honor America's veterans by transporting them to Washington, D.C. to visit and reflect at their memorials. A Park Service ranger on site at the World War II Memorial explained on Oct. 5 that the World War II Memorial is technically closed, but individuals would be allowed to enter to "express their First Amendment Rights." This was in contrast to my last visit on Oct. 1, when the World War II Memorial was closed to all visitors. I spent part of Oct. 5 at the World War II Memorial photographing veteran arrivals from Arkansas, Florida and Minnesota. A Park Service ranger indicated that the Memorial was receiving something on the order of 7 or 8 Honor Flights a day. The WWII Memorial remained virtually open that Saturday afternoon though there appeared to be only one entrance, and the fountains had all been shut down. The water filtration system turned off but the pools have not been drained. A visiting congresswoman suggested that the restrooms were shut down as well. The National Park staff, who appeared to be working without a pay check, were all extremely cordial to the veterans and their families. Arlington National Cemetery has always remained open. A veteran spokesman complained that the Iwo Jima Memorial was closed to them. The Lincoln, Korean and Vietnam memorials may still be closed but veterans may have found limited access when they assert themselves. This is all based on personal observation and like many other venues affected by the shutdown, appears to be in flux.
View our photos of Honor Flight veterans of the "Greatest Generation" visiting the World War II Memorial on Oct. 5 by clicking on the photo icons below.