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War Memorial Closures Not Stopping Veterans

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Elizabeth Dinh
Elizabeth joined CBS 11 News from Seattle's KOMO-TV in December 2...
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A World War II veteran visits the World War II Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on October 1, 2013. (credit: KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

A World War II veteran visits the World War II Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on October 1, 2013. (credit: KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

GRAPEVINE (CBSDFW.COM) - A group of North Texas veterans woke up early on Tuesday for a history-making trip in their honor. The flight took off at about 6:30 a.m. heading for Washington, D.C. with 24 war veterans — 21 from World War II and three from the Vietnam War — all getting the VIP treatment that they deserve.

Honor Flight Fort Worth organized the trip. When the veterans land in our nation’s capital, they will spend the remainder of Tuesday visiting war memorials. But the ongoing partial government shutdown will impact the sightseeing with some forced closures, including the National Park Service.

A different group went on a similar trip on Saturday and was able to visit all but one of the war memorials on their itinerary.

No matter what happens, the veterans who departed North Texas on Tuesday said that this will be a wonderful trip, and that they will bring back remarkable stories to share.

Each war veteran also brought along a guardian or family member.

The trip was meant to include 25 veterans but, just last week, one man from World War II passed away, days before his trip of a lifetime. His death served as a reminder to these veterans and trip organizers about the urgency of such flights, and their importance.

“Unfortunately, that’s happening all too often for the World War II veterans,” said Richard Smith, moments before he and his grandson took off from DFW International Airport on Tuesday morning. “We’re proud that we can be part of it while we’re still able to do so.”

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