Monday, October 07, 2013

Honor Flight of Northwest Ohio decides to risk arrest to visit WWII Memorial

This post went up late last night at Ohio Watchdog:

IT’S A GO: Honor Flight of Northwest Ohio will make their scheduled to trip D.C. after all.

By Maggie Thurber | for Ohio Watchdog
Never mind the shutdown. An outpouring of support from across the country — and the willingness of guests and volunteers to risk arrest — helped Honor Flight of Northwest Ohio proceed with its scheduled Oct. 9 trip to theWorld War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.
“We’d been watching the issue for several weeks,” said Lee Armstrong, the group’s president. “We planned the flight back in May, but knowing they were talking about a government shutdown on October 1, we kept watching and told our volunteers to be ready.”
Honor Flight is a national nonprofit that gives veterans free transportation so they can see war memorials. More than 3,500 veterans from across the country are scheduled to visit the memorials this October.
On Wednesday, more veterans moved the barricades to gain access and the National Park Service issued an announcement that, despite the government shutdown, the memorial would remain open to veterans under the First Amendment.
Armstrong was told Tuesday by a woman at the National Park Service who refused to give her name that if his Honor Flight group crossed the barricades that had been set up, they were going to be arrested.
When he questioned if they were really going to arrest a bunch of 90-year-old veterans, she told him to “have a good day,” and then hung up, he said.
“We have several individuals on this flight who are prominent members of the community. We didn’t want to risk having them arrested,” he said. So they announced the potential cancelation of the trip on their webpage, but not before sending emails to local congressional representatives, the Speaker of the House, the President of the Senate and the White House objecting to the threat of arrest.
And that’s when the media frenzy started, Armstrong said.

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