SPOKANE, Wash. – The next Inland Northwest Honor Flight is less than four weeks away and director Tony Lamanna said the organization will not cancel it, even if the government shutdown is still in effect. In fact, he said, he is prepared to move the barricades himself if it comes to that.
Honor Flight’s airfare is non-refundable, as are bus and hotel deposits. Lamanna said cancelling the trip would mean losing $85,000. But the bigger loss, he said, would be not allowing our veterans to see their memorials.
The memorials in Washington, D.C. have been barricaded and closed to the public. Other Honor Flights from across the country are charging ahead and finding government staff are making some accommodations for them and special clearance to go behind the barricades to visit the memorials.
But Honor Flight has been told, at the Vietnam Wall, the groups could be asked to leave three times. If they don’t, they could be arrested.
“It’s an absolute affront to what all these people have fought for and lost so many friends for,” Lamanna said. “To tell them they can’t see it after, you know, for us, travelling 3,000 miles and the rigors of a long day would just be a true slap in the face.”
Lamanna said if they cancelled this next trip, the next Honor Flight wouldn’t be until the spring. He said, it’s possible that the group would lose some of those veterans in the five-month’s time.
He said, veterans will have the option to stay home if the government shutdown is still in effect.