FREEDOM FLIGHT: Veterans Depart Despite Shutdown

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Courtesy: Leo Shane III

Veterans from Story County boarded a plane Tuesday morning, bound for Washington D.C. to visit the memorials dedicated in their honor.

The Freedom Flight was planned far in advance of the government shutdown and veterans were hopeful the memorials they traveled to see wouldn’t be closed when they arrived.

Barricades were up at the World War II memorial, but that didn’t stop the veterans. Stars and Stripes reporter Leo Shane III says Iowa’s Rep. Steve King helped get the veterans inside the memorial.

Shane also says the park police are seeking guidance on how to respond to the situation, but currently aren’t keeping any veterans out.

One-hundred and fifty veterans, including thirty from World War II, are taking part in the 2nd Story County Freedom Flight.

Philip Schendel got choked up talking about the police escort and send-off at the Des Moines International Airport Tuesday morning. He said, “Proud, makes you pretty, it’s kind of hard to explain.”

Many had been paying attention to news surrounding the government shutdown. Some family members took action. Kathy Gourley, Daughter of a Korean War Veteran, said, “Yesterday I spent the morning writing to all my representatives and senators telling them this better not interfere with this trip.”

Veterans from the Korean and Vietnam wars are also part of the trip.

The group will return to Des Moines around 10:00 Tuesday night.

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