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Florida World War II Vets to Visit Closed D.C. Memorials

National Parks Service

Tuesday morning, 80 World War II veterans from West Central Florida plan to exercise their “First Amendment rights.”

Their long-planned Honor Flight visit to the Washington D.C. war memorials was not canceled despite the government shutdown closing all monuments to the public.

The Tampa Bay veterans, age 86 and older, still get to visit some of the war memorials because members of Congress determined it was their constitutional right to do so, said Barbara Howard, a board member of the Honor Flights of West Central Florida.

She added that none of the veterans canceled the one-day trip because of the government shutdown.

"As always, we do have cancelations due to their health issues and things which also reinforces that we really can’t delay these things because they might not be with us," Howard said.

She said the veterans will be allowed to visit limited monuments such as the World War II Memorial and Korean War Memorial. She was unsure if they'd get a close-up look at the Vietnam War Memorial.

Another West Central Florida Honor Flight is scheduled for Oct. 29 from the St. Petersburg-Clearwater Airport and a November 12, 2013 flight is set from Lakeland Linder Regional Airport.

The public is invited to come to the airport to cheer on the World War II veterans when they return from Washington D.C. Tuesday night at about 8:45 p.m. at the St. Petersburg-Clearwater Airport.

Bobbie O’Brien has been a Reporter/Producer at WUSF since 1991. She reports on general news topics in Florida and the Tampa Bay region.
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