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WWII vets head to DC after government shutdown

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Updated: 10/19/2013 3:55 pm

ALBANY, N.Y. -  A group of WWII veterans flew down to Washington DC this morning to visit the World War II Memorial for the day on Saturday. This is days after the partial government shutdown ended,  which would have closed the World War II Memorial.

However, the vets didn't have to worry about that and they all got to fly down at no cost which is part of the Honor Flight program.

The event happened at the Albany International Airport where 31 World War II veterans were honored with a big send off as they were headed down to Washington DC to visit the WWII memorial for the first time.

It was a homecoming they say they never got.

One veteran said "To tell you the truth, I'm choked up, I'm, I can't speak."

Patriotic music played as veterans came through airport doors with people cheering and clapping, holding up flags and signs, thanking the veterans for their service.

"I've been wanting to go for a long time and this is my first opportunity of going."

The veterans, many of them in their late 80s through late 90s, and their family members are making the trip to DC just days after the government shut down ended, which would have closed all the memorials, including the World War II memorial.

"I considered bringing a battering ram, but I'm glad I didn't have to," stated one vet.

Greg Furlong is leading the trip and it's because of his organization, the Leatherstocking Honor Flight, which allows all the veterans to make the trip free of charge.

"We are going down there today with a tremendous amount of history- guys who were at Iwo Jima, Battle of the Buldge, Normandy, the whole nine yards. These guys are the real deal," said Furlong.

This is a day trip for the veterans. So, they will be getting back to the Capital Region Saturday night, hopefully with a lot of memories and pictures. 

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