Vets visit D.C.: 'Deny access to the WWII Memorial? It's crazy'
EUGENE, Ore. - Even though the government shutdown closed the Washington D.C. memorials 2,800 miles away, some local veterans said they are feeling the repercussions on the west coast.
Honor Flights is a non-profit that takes veterans around the northwest to visit the war memorials in Washington. This week over 50 vets are scheduled to make the trip, but this government shut down might keep them from visiting the monuments honoring their service.
"It's exciting to me that they say 'this isn't going to slow us down, we're going!" said 89-year-old World War II vet Einar Skovbo. "The more I thought about it, the more excited I got. I'm ready to jump on that airplane."
With non-refundable plane tickets, hotel rooms, and green passes purchased, these vets won't let the shutdown stand in their way of visiting the nation's capital.
"To have a yellow ribbon in front of those monuments... it's insulting a lot of people. I cannot imagine any government treating their veterans that way," said Skovbo.
Mike Pungercar of the South Willamette Valley Honor Flights agrees, adding, "These World War II veterans fought for our country 70 years ago. This is their opportunity to finally get some recognition, and to deny them access to the WWII Memorial? It's crazy."
Honor Flights organizers hope the government can resolve their conflict by Saturday, or at least find a compromise on the memorials.
"We're not Republicans, we're not Democrats, we're Americans. And these are our American Memorials," said Pungercar.
Representative Michele Bachmann showed up at the World War II Memorial Tuesday morning to help take down the barricades and allow vets in. Law enforcement on-site made no attempt to kick the veterans out.