BLASDELL (WKBW) The government shutdown continues, with federal employees facing furloughs and national parks and monuments remain closed. Yet twenty six local World War Two veterans are planning a trip to the nation's capital to see the memorial in their honor, whether the government is up and running or not.
They served in Europe, the Pacific, Asia, and here at home. From the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard. Some even earned Purple Hearts. From 86 to 96 years old, these men and one woman are now getting ready to board a plane later this month, on a flight in their honor, to see the World War Two Memorial in Washington DC.
"For them, it truly is the trip of a lifetime. It's probably on a lot of their bucket lists as something they want to accomplish before they leave this world, and it's extremely emotional," Deborah Watkins of Honor Flight Buffalo explained.
"I'll probably cry. I think it will be very touching" US Coast Guard WWII Veteran Carmen Cheney said.
"It's going to be an exciting experience. Very gratifying," US Army WWII Veteran Marlin Salmon added.
And after making it through Pearl Harbor, the Battle of Iwo Jima, and D-day, these veterans say a little government shutdown isn't going to stop them now. Word came down on Saturday that the Honor Flight members will have access to the monuments despite the government shutdown, and the men and women who are responsible for the World War Two Memorial will have access to it during their trip.
"It's only right. It is something the government should do without hesitation," Salmon said.
But even if they didn't get permission, these veterans say a few barricades wouldn't have stopped them.
"We would move them. As old as we are we would move them," US Air Force WWII Veteran Joseph Nies said.
"I'm 90 years old. If they lock me up, how long can they keep me?" US Marine Corps WWII Veteran Eugene Kraft added.
The vets round trip flight will take place on October 19th.