Mid-South war vets defy shutdown, visit DC memorials - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Mid-South war vets defy shutdown, visit DC memorials

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Thirty Mid-South World War II and Korean War veterans defied the partial government shutdown Friday and flew from Memphis to Washington, D.C., to pay tribute to fallen comrades.

For many it is a trip of lifetime that can't be postponed because of partisan politics.

MORE: Mississippi Honor Flight vets storm closed WWII Memorial


The police escort Friday morning was  fitting for men worthy of such honor, but too humble to demand such fanfare.

"We want to go to the World War II Memorial for sure and I hope we get to go," said WWII Navy vet Kenneth Masterson.

The last time Mid-South veterans visited the memorials, 11 days ago, they were initially denied access because of the government shutdown. They were eventually allowed to walk the grounds and pay respect to fallen comrades.

"I am glad we still have America and that we still have vets from World War II," said Diana Hight of Forever Young Senior Veteran Wish, based in Collierville, Tenn.

The 30 war veterans boarded an aircraft at Memphis International Airport for an all-expense paid Trip of Honor. They plan on spending the weekend in Washington, D.C.

"We are taking on Washington," Hight said. "We have 28 World War II and Korean veterans and we are going to take them to DC and honor them for their sacrifices for our country."

They fought a war, defeated tyranny, came home, and got on with life.
    
"They have not traveled that much, so it is really amazing to see that these man have not been to our capital," Hight said.

These men now in their golden years and not in the best of health will see a tribute to them that other Americans must wait to see.

"It's not about the $75,000 we would lose in canceling this trip," said Hight, "it's the fact that this is the only opportunity many of these men will have to experience the monuments built in their honor."

This is Forever Young's 10th veteran trip to Washington D.C., and the first to be taken while in the midst of a partial government shutdown.

"We delight in giving back to these men who fought so courageously for our freedom," Hight said. "Whether our group gets access to the memorials or not, we're not going to let it stop us from honoring these aging heroes."

The veterans return to Memphis after the Columbus Day holiday.

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