HONOR FLIGHT

Honor Flight participants see D.C. sights after late start

2013-10-04T04:30:00Z 2013-10-04T12:27:42Z Honor Flight participants see D.C. sights after late startTimes staff The Quad-City Times
October 04, 2013 4:30 am  • 

Veterans and guardians traveling with Honor Flight of the Quad-Cities have visited the World War II and Korean War memorials this afternoon as their late-starting visit to Washington, D.C., continues.

Participants report that while they were aware of an incident in which a woman driving a black Lexus tried to ram through a White House barricade then led police on a chase that ended in gunfire outside the Capitol, it did not interfer with their visit.

Among lawmakers meeting the group were Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill. and Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa.

The group's departure was delayed for three hours after their chartered jet struck an owl early this morning while landing at Quad-City International Airport in Moline. After the aircraft was checked out, the flight took off at around 10 a.m.

Dozens of veterans — mostly from northwestern Illinois — and volunteer guardians headed to Washington, D.C., for what became a compressed day of sightseeing.

Hub director Bob Morrison said this morning that the late departure should not keep the group from seeing all the sights they had planned. "We're probably going to cut everything a little shorter," he said. "It's going to be a different itinerary that we've ever done."

Changes already were in the works even before the charter Sun Coast plane struck a bird upon landing at the airport. The government shutdown and the closure of the national parks had put the trip in limbo earlier in the week.

Morrison said with the aid of local congressmen the group was confident it would get into the World War II, Korean and Navy memorials today. "We might get to see the outside of the Pentagon, but we may not be able to get inside," he said, adding that organizers had added other locations in case they could not access the war memorials.

Before boarding, many of the veterans shared their disgust with Congress' inability to find a solution and keep the government running.

Harold Graff, a Korean-era veteran from Dover, Ill., said "We can kick (the barricades) down, we've done it before. I'm so fed up with it."


EARLIER STORY

After a three-hour delay, the latest Honor Flight of the Quad-Cities took off just after 10 a.m. today.

Dozens of veterans — mostly from northwestern Illinois — and volunteer guardians are headed to Washington, D.C., for what will be a compressed day of sightseeing.

Hub director Bob Morrison said the late departure should not keep the group from seeing all the sights they had planned. "We're probably going to cut everything a little shorter," he said. "It's going to be a different itinerary that we've ever done."

Changes already were in the works even before the charter Sun Coast plane struck a bird upon landing at the Quad-City International Airport. The government shutdown and the closure of the national parks had put the trip in limbo earlier in the week.

Morrison said with the aid of local congressmen the group was confident it would get into the World War II, Korean and Navy memorials today. "We might get to see the outside of the Pentagon, but we may not be able to get inside," he said, adding that organizers had added other locations in case they could not access the war memorials.

Before boarding, many of the veterans shared their disgust with Congress' inability to find a solution and keep the government running.

Harold Graff, a Korean-era veteran from Dover, Ill., said "We can kick (the barricades) down, we've done it before. I'm so fed up with it."


EARLIER REPORT: After a two-and-a-half hour delay, Quad-City veterans and their guardians are boarding a plane bound for Washington, D.C.

The plane was temporarily grounded after an owl flew into the plane's engine while landing at the Quad-City International Airport in Moline this morning.

It's the 25th trip for the Honor Flight of the Quad-Cities organization. 

The flight includes 162 veterans and guardians, including 92 veterans mostly from the Whiteside County area of northwest Illinois. Only two of the veterans on this flight are from World War II; the rest are of Korean War-era veterans.

Even with the lengthy delay, organizers say there is still time for the veterans to take in a majority of the day's activities.


EARLIER REPORT: Plane's crew is going to take plane away from gate to start the engine and see if it can go. Team engineers believe the plane can fly. If it checks out with a mechanic the flight still could leave soon.

Departure looking more promising, says hub director Bob Morrison.


EARLIER REPORT: A group of Quad-City veterans scheduled to leave this morning on an Honor Flight trip to Washington, D.C., to see the war memorials there has been grounded.

A hawk or owl flew into an engine of the plane that was to fly the group to Washington as it was landing at the Quad-City International Airport in Moline, officials say.

Organizers are searching for a replacement plane as repairs could take hours. It's possible the flight could be canceled altogether.

The veterans and their guardians are currently at the airport terminal waiting.

It's the 25th trip for the Honor Flight of the Quad-Cities group.

The flight includes 162 veterans and guardians, including 92 veterans mostly from the Whiteside County area of northwest Illinois. Only two of the veterans on this flight are from World War II; the rest are of Korean War-era veterans.

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