Government shutdown could put Utah's first Honor Flight on hold

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) - As protesters in Washington storm barricades at the World War II Memorial veterans in Utah are watching closely.

A trip of a lifetime might be put on hold if lawmakers can't come to an agreement.

“I hope they get their act together,” said Marty Martin, a WWII veteran.

Marty and Fred Martin have accomplished a lot together in their 72 years of marriage. Both are WWII veterans. She was in the Marine Corps and he was a flight engineer.

“I had to understand the plane real well,” said Fred Martin. “There was C-47, B-17, B-24.”

But both nearing 91 years-old, there's one adventure they're still waiting to take-- seeing the war memorials in the Nation's Capitol.

“The main thing that we want to see is somebody that we know or even our names,” said Marty Martin.

The Martins hoped to go to DC with other Utah veterans on the Honor Flight. It is a trip made possible through community donations. The money is there, but now the government shutdown is putting the trip in jeopardy.

Organizers tell ABC 4 Utah’s Kim Johnson it wouldn't make sense to fly the group of vets there when what they plan to see is closed.

“It makes me a little mad,” said Marty Martin.

With Fred Martin battling Alzheimer’s-- every day counts. WWII veterans die at a rate of 600 a day and these married vets know they're special.

“There's very few of them that are man and wife that are still alive,” said Marty Martin.

Now their family along with many around the country hope those with the power to open the memorials do and soon.

“Stop arguing and open them up so everybody, all the veterans can enjoy them,” said Jeri Whitehead, the couple’s daughter. “That’s why they built them so we can enjoy it and remember those who didn't make it home.”

The Utah Honor Flight was scheduled to take place the end of October, but may be postponed if the government is still shut down.

If you'd like more information on the trip there are four public meetings on Tuesday, October 15.

11 am & 1 pm at the Peery Hotel
110 W. Broadway in downtown Salt Lake City

3 pm & 5 pm at the Country Inn and Suites
3422 South Decker Lake Drive (3200 west) West Valley City

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