After a group of veterans “stormed” the barricaded World War II memorial in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, other WWII veterans groups are planning to visit the same site on Wednesday — which only exists because of their service. Meanwhile, another Honor Flight group in Ohio is claiming that the Park Service threatened to arrest its members if they entered the closed memorial during their planned visit on Oct. 9 (assuming the government is still “shut down”).
Andrea Plunkett, a volunteer with the Kansas City-area Heartland Honor Flight, told TheBlaze the group plans to bring about 90 veterans to the WWII memorial in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday. She said the WWII veterans would arrive at around 11 a.m. with a delegation about about 12 U.S. senators and representatives. The group plans to breach the barricades.
She also said another Missouri flight from Franklin County should be arriving at the same time.
“When we heard the news this morning about the barricades being erected at the memorials, dozens of people started helping us try to find a solution,” she told TheBlaze. “Both Kansas and Missouri officials have been incredibly responsive– we heard back from Senator [Roy] Blunt, [Claire] McCaskill, [Pat] Roberts and [Jerry] Moran’s offices right away. Several members of Congress have been involved as well.”
Plunkett said canceling their flight was not an option because an Honor Flight can cost “upwards of $80,000.
“Our next flight isn’t until Spring of 2014, and waiting is not an option for many of these vets. Between 600-900 WWII vets die each day, so when it comes to Honor Flights, time is of the essence,” she said. “These veterans can’t wait on the government.”
Shockingly, an Honor Flight group from Toledo, Ohio, was allegedly threatened with arrest if they entered the closed memorial, setting up a possible showdown between vets and the government.
Honor Flight of Northwest Ohio was told by the Park Service that individuals in the group would face arrest if they entered the closed memorial, Lee Armstrong, the group’s president, claims.
Armstrong was stunned.
“I said, are you kidding me? You’re going to arrest a 90/91-year-old veteran from seeing his memorial? If it wasn’t for them it wouldn’t be there. She said, ‘That’s correct sir,'” Armstrong told WNWO-TV.
It is unclear whether the Park Service official, who reportedly refused to provide her name hung up, was relaying official policy.
Plunkett told TheBlaze Heartland Honor Flight hadn’t even considered the possibility of arrest prior to being made aware of the report.
“All of our vets are in their late 80’s and early 90’s,” she said. “That would be quite a scene.”
The current plan is to arrive at the WWII monument in Washington and simply go through the barricades so they can honor their fellow veterans, which is exactly what happened on Tuesday.
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Featured image via @lachlan