They beat Hitler and Tojo during World War II, so 90 veterans from the Chicago area were not about to beat by a government shutdown.
Ignoring warnings from the park service that the National World War II Memorial would be closed because of the ongoing federal government shutdown, an Honor Flight group of veterans took off anyway rom Midway Airport bound for Washington, D.C.
U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski (IL-3) and other Illinois pols were on hand to greet the veterans when they arrived at the National Mall on Wednesday, to make sure that they got in to visit their memorial.
“The World War II Memorial belongs to the brave men and women who put their lives on the line and courageously fought for our country and protected our freedoms,” Lipinski said, in a written statement. “Denying these veterans, as well as their friends and family, access to the memorial and ruining their day because of the bickering and gridlock in Washington would have been unconscionable.”
Honor Flight Chicago has made 52 trips to Washington, providing World War II veterans with an all-expenses-paid day filled with honor, remembrance and celebration, including the ceremony at the World War II Memorial on the National Mall. Southwest Airlines donates the cost of the round-trip flight between Midway Airport and Washington.
Another Honor Flight group had stormed past yellow police tape and barricades blocking access to the National Memorial on Tuesday, the first day of the government shutdown.
Wednesday’s trip was scheduled to return to Chicago at 8:45 p.m., concluding with a celebration at the airport for the returning heroes.
“I’m always in awe of our World War II vets, but the spirit and resolve they demonstrated today was extremely moving,” Rep. Lipinski said, whose keeping his constituent offices . “If only members of Congress and the administration could follow their example and make sacrifices for the good of the country, this pointless shutdown would come to an end in no time.”