HonorAir Knoxville may have to change flight plans for shutdown

HonorAir Knoxville may have to change flight plans due to government shutdown

Posted:
"I really don't know what I'll feel like, but I'll certainly remember the men who have given their lives there," said veteran Bill Ihde. "I really don't know what I'll feel like, but I'll certainly remember the men who have given their lives there," said veteran Bill Ihde.
Chairman of HonorAir Knoxville Eddie Mannis says the entire purpose of the flight is to allow the veterans to visit the memorials. Chairman of HonorAir Knoxville Eddie Mannis says the entire purpose of the flight is to allow the veterans to visit the memorials.

By STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - With America's national parks closed due to the government shutdown, a group of veterans walked past barriers at the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. Members of Congress went to the site after receiving panicked emails and cut police tape to let in the veterans from Iowa and Mississippi.

HonorAir Knoxville organizes similar trips for veterans to visit those memorial sites. One is planned in just a few days. HonorAir Knoxville has a trip planned on Wednesday, Oct. 9 to take 130 World War II and Korean War veterans to Washington DC.

The chairman of HonorAir Knoxville says the main reason they go is to see the memorials. If the memorials are closed, the chairman says they will have to postpone the trip. Many veterans hope that doesn't happen.

Bill Ihde is a World War II Veteran who navigated B-24 bombers for the US Army Air Corps.

"I got to the target, then we dropped the bombs on the target, then I navigated back to the base," said Ihde.

Ihde is looking forward to the HonorAir flight to DC on October 9. He's never seen the war memorials.

"I really don't know what I'll feel like, but I'll certainly remember the men who have given their lives there," said Ihde.

Chairman of HonorAir Knoxville Eddie Mannis says the entire purpose of the flight is to allow the veterans to visit the memorials.

"That's why we provide the trip and that's what they really want to see the WWII Memorial that represents what they fought for and Korean War Veterans the same way," said Mannis.

Ihde lost a friend and crew member in the war.

"I tried to save him but I couldn't," said Ihde.

Ihde says he'll be thinking about his fallen friend while he's at the memorial. Mannis says for veterans seeing the memorial for the first time, the tone is somber.

"They are quiet and you can tell they are processing a lot of their thoughts and reliving their experiences from the past," said Mannis.

If the memorials remain closed, Mannis says they HonorAir will have to post pone the trip. Ihde has faith the government will open the memorials and the flight will go on as planned.

"I've been through these types of things before and they always straighten it out so I look forward to them doing the right thing," said Ihde.

House Republicans floated the idea of restarting some portions of the government, including national parks, but they still want concessions on healthcare. White House spokesman Jay Carney rejected that idea as "not a serious approach."

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