Shutdown Doesn't Shut Out OK Veterans From World War II Memorial - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

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Shutdown Doesn't Shut Out OK Veterans From World War II Memorial

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When this group got on the plane at 2 a.m. Tuesday, they didn't know if they would be allowed into the World War II Memorial. But they were determined. When this group got on the plane at 2 a.m. Tuesday, they didn't know if they would be allowed into the World War II Memorial. But they were determined.
WASHINGTON -

The federal government shutdown is now going into its second week. On Tuesday, that political stalemate threatened to ruin a long awaited trip for a group of Oklahoma Veterans who traveled to Washington D.C. to see the World War II Monument as part of an Honor Flight.

When this group got on the plane at 2 a.m. Tuesday, they didn't know if they would be allowed into the World War II Memorial. But they were determined. The Oklahoma County Assessor who was on that trip said he even considered taking wire cutters with him to make sure the government shut down didn't shut out these vets.

Eighty Three vets were on the trip, 22 were over 90 years old, including 93-year-old Burton Johnson. Johnson left the Army as a Major after serving 15 years.

The monument is supposed to be closed off as part of the government shutdown. A week ago an honor flight group and some congressmen pushed through barriers that blocked off the memorial. For this trip, organizers acquired a special permit from the National Park Service to enter the monument. But turns out they didn't need it, signs indicating the memorial was closed were ignored.

"[It was] full of people and [I] have all kinds of pictures," Burton said.

But as Burton spoke to us by telephone, he was standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial that was blocked off the lights turned off.

"I'm disgusted with our government for closing things like this," Burton said.

The vets will have to view the Iwo Jima, and other monuments from a distance as well, before returning home. For many this was likely their last opportunity.

"It's we the people who are paying the price in lack of access to our national monuments," said Oklahoma Representative Gary Banz, who organized the trip.

The group will return home around 9:15 p.m. on Tuesday.

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