Two dozen World War II veterans from Tennessee and Virginia are heading to Washington in the middle of the government shutdown.
They're hoping the continuing standoff in the nation's capitol won't keep them from the National World War II Memorial and other destinations in the DC area.
Friday 25 veterans from Tennessee and Virginia arrived at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford. The memorial is a regular stop, when the group Honor Flight Northeastern Tennessee makes a trip to Washington, D.C.
Salem resident Earl Baker flew with the Eighth Air Force over Europe. He's hoping the government shutdown won't change their plans.
"I was wondering if the memorials will be open since there's so much controversy up there right now," Baker told WDBJ7. "I am hoping after traveling all the way up there, that... it won't be worthless."
The group has a permit to visit the National World War II Memorial, but it remains unclear if the government shutdown will affect the veterans' trip in other ways.
Clark Cregger is also from Salem. He flew 21 missions as a lead radio operator on a B-17. "We always had a country of statesmen, but it looks like we've turned into a country of politicians," Cregger said. "And I would like to see us go back to the day when we had statesmen."
Many of the veterans on the 3-day trip are looking forward to seeing the National World War II Memorial for the first time. The government shutdown could complicate their visit, but one thing it won't change, they say, is the camaraderie they're feeling among fellow veterans.