Submitted by: Int'l Interiors via Edward Moore
No more National Park Service escorts for Veterans on honor flights
PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – After a combined 22-years in the military, serving in three wars, Rachel Hughes figures a little VIP treatment isn’t too much to ask. That’s why, when she learned the National Park Service was discontinuing escorts for Veterans on honor flights, she felt it was a slap in the face.
“I know every Veteran feels the same way, all we’re asking for is one day to honor,” said Hughes. “Just get the recognition that hey, you still mean something to us. What you did for this great nation. That’s not too much to ask. “
Recently, a number of lawmakers, including Representative Gus Bilirakis from Palm Harbor, wrote a letter to the Department of Interior, asking it to reconsider.
It’s ridiculous. It really is. This is bureaucracy at its worst,” said Representative Bilirakis. “I’m not going to rest until we get this done. You know, they are our heroes. I see it looking into their eyes when they come and visit these memorials in Washington DC. They have a right to.”
Frank Vanore is an Air Force Veteran who is on the list for a future honor flight. He says some of the Veterans are older and less mobile than others.
“Here you have military veterans that are in wheelchairs, walkers, oxygen tanks,” said Vanore. “They are on time constraints. And it’s an all-day affair.”
He says the National Park Service escorts offered much-needed help to those who served our country.
“Now’s the time of their life, they’re not asking for them to hold their hand and wipe their nose. They’re not asking for that,” said Vanore. “Just let me see the things that we fought for, that we believe in.”
8 On Your Side reached out, via email to the National Park Service for comment, but have not received a reply.