Government shutdown won't block NM honor flight
Posted at: 10/01/2013 6:33 PM
By: Ryan Luby, KOB Eyewitness News 4
More than two dozen New Mexico veterans will head to Washington, D.C. on Wednesday despite the deadlock in Congress.
On Tuesday, veterans on privately-funded ‘honor flights’ from other states ignored the barricades at monuments and national parks.
“We will walk in and get our vets to the memorial -- simple as that,” David Melcher with Honor Flight of Southern New Mexico said. “This may be the first time these World War II guys will open up about their experiences."
Melcher said some of the veterans served in World War II, including 90-year-old Prospero “Pete” Chavez of Albuquerque.
“This country is not what it used to be,” Chavez said in an interview with KOB Eyewitness News 4.
He served in the 65th Armored Field Artillery Battalion and invaded Normandy, France on D-Day in June 1944.
“There were a lot of buddies I lost, and I was one of the ones to escape,” Chavez said.
He’s never seen the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., but his son Ray, of Los Angeles, said his father deserves the trip.
“Well, my dad should be honored. He served in every major battle from North Africa into Berlin, he met [General] Patton several times. He jumped with 101st Airborne [Division] into Normandy,” Ray said. “He had quite a career.”
Ray criticized Congress and how government works anymore.
“Once you get politics involved, it pretty much destroys everything,” he said.
“You reelect these guys and then they do whatever they want, not what people want,” the elder Chavez said.
Pete and the other veterans on his honor flight will depart El Paso early Wednesday morning and return on Friday.