KALAMAZOO, Mich. –Late Wednesday the Republican National Committee said they will pay to keep the World War II Memorial open for 30 days. The memorial as well as several other monuments in D.C. and around the country have been blocked off due to the government shutdown.
It’s an impact that’s been felt in West Michigan as veterans locally prepare to take their own flight. There are around 3,500 veterans headed to Washington D.C. this month on honor flights. Locally, 24 men and women will take off in just three weeks, it will be the first trip for ‘Talon Outs Honor Flight’ out of southwest Michigan after months of planning and fundraising efforts nothing will stop them.
Nearly 90, Francis Smith just found out Tuesday he was going on the trip and he said he’s so excited he feels like a kid again. He was nearly brought to tears as he talked about what it would mean to him to see the memorial.
‘Talon Outs Honor Flights’ organizer Dan Moyle said the past few days have been nerve-racking as the government shutdown lingers. He worries veterans won’t be able to see the monuments that mean so much to them. Even though the World War II Memorial will stay open, others in DC may still be blocked off.