Government shutdown could affect Honor Flight - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Government shutdown could affect Honor Flight

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David True, a SPHF guardian, holds photos of his father, S.M. True, Jr., at The United States Navy Memorial in 2012. (Source: Facebook) David True, a SPHF guardian, holds photos of his father, S.M. True, Jr., at The United States Navy Memorial in 2012. (Source: Facebook)

With every minute that passes, a partial government shutdown looks more likely. That means beginning Tuesday, many government services will be put on hold.

Essential jobs and services like TSA workers, military personnel, post office employees and social security will continue to function as normal, but non-essential services such as National Parks, museums and monuments will close, meaning the Honor Flight may have to change their plans.

"As of today, we will continue our trip regardless of what may be open or closed in Washington," said Michael Travis with the South Plains Honor Flight. "The tour group that we have facilitated with in Washington is just asking us to take a wait and see approach. We really don't know what will happen at this point."

The WWII, Vietnam and Korean War Memorials, Lincoln Memorial, Smithsonian Museum and National Mall will all close. Barricades will be set up around the monuments, fountains will be shut off - even trash collection will stop.

"We will get as close to the monuments as we can get and we will have our wreath-laying ceremonies if need be on the sidewalk," Michael said. "We will give these men and women that have earned it the opportunity to get as close as we're allowed without breaking the law."

Michael was on the trip last year. It was a life-changing experience for him, walking amongst the monuments with men who served in those wars. Michael himself is a veteran of Vietnam, but he says the biggest worry for the honor flight is that for many, this may be their last chance to take in the sights.

"We lost three of four veterans last year within just a very few months and if they don't get to go this year or don't get to see the monuments, there will be a number of them that never have that opportunity again," he said. "The 2013 Honor Flight is ready and we have a week or 10 days before we have to make a call as to whether we won't have it again."  

The Texas South Plains Honor Flight is just over three weeks away, from October 16-18. Michael said he and other veterans are hopeful the situation can be solved by that day.

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