Southern New Mexico veterans set to visit DC monuments after shutdown
LAS CRUCES, N.M. — A group of veterans is headed to Washington D.C. Wednesday to tour the monuments as a part of the Honor Flight of Southern New Mexico.
WIth the government shutdown, the memorials were closed off to the public but a group of veterans crossed the barricades and toured the area on Tuesday.
"We will walk in and get our vets to the memorial simple as that," said David Melcher, with Honor Flight of Southern New Mexico.
The Honor Flight of Southern New Mexico is flying 32 veterans, most from WWII, to Washington D.C., to tour memorials the veterans have not seen before.
Through donations and other contributions, Honor Flight is able to pay the way for veterans to make a trip to see monuments built in their honor.
"This maybe the first time those WWII vets will open up about their experiences," Melcher said.
But as the travel day neared the government shutdown has made the ultimate goal of seeing the monuments a bit unnerving.
On the first day of the shutdown, barricades blocked off the monuments closing them for the time being.
A group of veterans did make their way through the barricades with no opposition from those standing guard.
Melcher said after so much planning the trip will go on and they don't anticipate any issues at the monuments.
"It's about the veteran that did his service so we can live free and people just need to understand that," he said.
The group expects lawmakers from New Mexico to present when the group tours the monuments Thursday morning.