Government shutdown proves no match for East TN veterans

The financial impact may be heavy, but veterans who have faced life and death on the battlefields of Korea and all across Europe say a shutdown will not stop them from seeing memorials built in their honor.

On Wednesday, HonorAir Knoxville plans to make its 15th trip to the nation's capital. HonorAir Knoxville decided Monday they would not let the stalemate in Washington stop them from allowing local veterans to visit the World War II, Korean and Vietnam memorials.

HonorAir Knoxville Chairman Eddie Mannis said it's a trip they cannot afford to miss.

"Rescheduling could mean some of these men and women would never be able to go," he said.

Mannis said the shutdown will create its share of logistical problems, like parking and transportation, but the National Parks Service will allow the group's visit into memorials.

"We've been instructed to take the barricade apart, get the group in, and slide the barricade shut," he said.

Korean War veteran Paul Clapp will be on the trip. He said he had the trip had an important purpose.

He said he was happy veterans from Mississippi broke down the barriers to the World War II memorial last week.

"That's what needed to be done," he said. "Should've been done and I'm glad they did."

The veterans' flight will leave McGhee Tyson Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. Mannis said the veterans should arrive back in Knoxville by 8 p.m.


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