Big Sky Honor Flight’s George Blackard at WWII Memorial today pic.twitter.com/F63rVV3fDP
— Aaron Flint (@aaronflint) October 14, 2013
The barricades torn down by military veterans Sunday were erected again by the federal government, and as pictured above- the barricades were there to greet our World War II veterans travelling on the Big Sky Honor Flight.
Fortunately, the Big Sky Honor Flight had a permit to access the memorials that shouldn’t be closed in the first place.
Nonetheless, this headline by The Billings Gazette sums it up: Big Sky Honor Flight vets disgusted by shutdown of American monuments
Here’s an excerpt from the piece:
Two Montana World War II veterans on Sunday defied a temporary steel barrier that closed the Lincoln Memorial to the general public. The pair climbed to the top to see the marble statue.
“I was privileged to walk up there,” said the defiant A.L. Frederick, 90, of Billings. “I was defending America — again. I see my freedoms being nibbled away.”
Frederick’s father met Abraham Lincoln in 1862 and sat on Lincoln’s lap while he was campaigning. He named his son after the slain president, so visiting the namesake Memorial held special meaning.
I had the chance to catch up with The Big Sky Honor Flight’s George Blackard in DC during Monday’s show. Click here to listen to how he described the trip thus far.
— Sanjay Talwani (@IR_SanjayT) October 14, 2013
George also shared this story on his Facebook page as he mentioned a funny side story about how the Montanans ran into the world’s oldest marathon runner:
The barricades were back up today but we secured a permit to be at the WWII Memorial so we didn’t have to move them. It’s great to be here but sad that the people and school kids who are usually here to greet and hug our veterans are not allowed to be here.
Saw the barricades that were torn down during the veteran’s rally this morning in a pile. When we arrived there were still veterans and supporters stationed at the memorials. Some Viet Nam vets we didn’t know escorted a few of our WWII vets past the police and up the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
I stayed on the bus with a tired vet (as we leave no one alone) and I got a surprise. A young Sikh… came onto the bus and asked if his friend, a Sikh man of 102 years, could use our toilet. I said sure. Turns out it was the guy from the Nike running commercial who did a marathon a couple of years ago and carried a flag at the London Olympics. None of the facilities around the mall are operational so he had no options. I think his whole group now likes Montana!
Who is the centarian marathon runner referenced? Fauja Singh, who reportedly ran his last race in Hong Kong last February. (I haven’t located the commercial referenced yet, it may be an Adidas commercial.)