Local vets may miss seeing memorials due to shutdown - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Local vets may miss seeing memorials due to shutdown

A previous Honor Flight. A previous Honor Flight.
The River Raisin Battlefield The River Raisin Battlefield
(Toledo News Now) -

Local World War II veterans are concerned they won't get the chance to see their memorial in Washington, as the government shutdown threatens the last Honor Flight of the year leaving from Toledo.

It has been six years since Honor Flight of Northwest Ohio raised money to send veterans to see the memorials in Washington DC. A flight scheduled for next Wednesday has been in the works for four months, but now it might be canceled, if access to the memorials continues to be blocked due to the shutdown.

Now, 59 World War II vets and 16 more Korean War vets don't know if they'll get to go, and sadly for some, it could have been their last chance.

"I just don't understand how you could do that," said Lee Armstrong, president of Honor Flight. "Take an open space like the memorial, and say, ‘Oh, by the way, it's your memorial. It was built mostly by private donations. And by the way, we're going to close it on you.'"

They raised $75,000 for the upcoming flight. The aircraft has been booked, buses, tables and chairs were gathered. Armstrong says they've never had to cancel an Honor flight, and he's worried what could happen during the shutdown.

"How many will survive if we have to reschedule the flight – even four weeks?" he said. "In the meantime, we just had one pass last week that was scheduled to go on the flight, and it was very disheartening."

In Monroe, the effects of the shutdown are visible. The River Raisin Battlefield is closed because it is run by the National Park Service. Access to the parking lot is blocked off, and the visitor center is locked up.

It's all on Congress, says Monroe resident Bernie Wickenheiser.

"It's absolutely ridiculous. Both sides. They're both guilty of wrongdoing," he said.

As for the Honor Flight, Armstrong will decide by Friday if they can still make the trip.

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