WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Central New York veterans got into the Iwo Jima Memorial on Sunday by knocking over water-filled barriers. Their three buses were then able to get in to see the landmark.
The dedicated group of Honor Flight volunteers made sure a group of 64 aging veterans of World War II and the Korean War had their moment of respect and reflection.
Compared to battling the Germans and Japanese during World War II, Honor Flight Syracuse volunteers said working around a government shutdown in Washington D.C. was a challenge easily overcome.
They put their backs into it, tilting the water-filled barricades and letting the water pour out. Then they moved the barricades so the buses could get into the memorial area.
The veterans took an early morning charter flight out of Syracuse's Hancock Airport. The grand World War II Memorial was the first stop by mid-morning. The goal was to bring all Syracuse area veterans to their memorial at no cost to the former service men and women.
Volunteers and donations make it happen. SRC, Inc. is the largest corporate sponsor of this Honor Flight. The veterans were matched with volunteer guardians who shuttled them from the tour bus via wheelchair through the memorials.
These veterans were traveling for the first time to the Vietnam Wall, Arlington National Cemetery and the Iwo Jima Monument.
When the Honor Flight plane returns to Hancock Airport Sunday evening, it will be met by a 'water arch' set up by National Guard and airport fire equipment.