Government shutdown leaves south Florida Honor Flight to D.C. in limbo

Local World War II veterans concerned about trip

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Eighty one aging South Florida World War II veterans are supposed to fly to Washington, D.C., later this month. But will a government shutdown ground plans for the war heroes to remember and reflect in our nation's capitol?

"I really want to go," said Arthur Kreuter, Jr., of West Palm Beach.

Kreuter was a U.S. Navy pilot who experienced combat during World War II. He has been waiting for years to fly to Washington, D.C., to finally visit the monument erected in his honor and in the honor of all of the veterans who fought in that war.

"Finish that off particularly because it's there for those of us who served all those years," said Kreuter.

Kreuter and 80 other South Florida veterans are scheduled to be on board an Honor Flight out of Palm Beach International Airport on October 19. A similar successful trip took place in September. The non-profit Honor Flight flies war veterans to the nation's capitol to visit and reflect at their memorials.

Will the current government shutdown leave the next group of veterans shut out?

"It's devastating," said Michael Roberts, Chairman of Southeast Florida Honor Flight. Roberts says if the memorials are not reopened quickly, the next trip may have to be postponed.

"I'd like to look somebody in the eye and say 'Hey, you closed the memorial that they were going up to see and one guy didn't make it.' Just one guy would be shameful," he said.

Kreuter turned 90-years-old in July. Despite what he sees unfolding in Washington now, he is still hopeful that he and his fellow vets will get there as planned.

"I think they'll get smart and do whatever they have to do," he said.

Roberts says plans for this particular Honor Flight may remain uncertain the longer the shutdown goes on.

 

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