Posted: Oct 13, 2013 4:17 PM by MTN News
Updated: Oct 13, 2013 4:17 PM
The seventh Big Sky Honor Flight left Billings Logan International Airport on Sunday morning bound for Washington D.C. with 83 World War II veterans from Montana.
While in Washington, the veterans, their escorts, and relatives will see the World War II and other memorials; Arlington National Cemetery is also on the agenda.
Big Sky Honor Flight chair Bill Kennedy says the federal government closure will not affect the trip; the Honor Flight has special permits to visit and any barricades will be moved for the veterans.
CNN reports that on the first day of the partial federal government shutdown, October 1st, a group of WWII veterans was barred from entering the open-air WWII memorial. But with the help of a few Republican members of Congress, the veterans removed the barricades and streamed onto the site, as security guards stood aside.
The Department of Interior has since said that veterans with the Honor Flight program will be permitted to visit the memorial as part of their First Amendment rights, but otherwise the site is closed to the general public until the government reopens.
The Montana veterans are scheduled to return to Billings on Monday night.