TYLER (KYTX) - Thirty World War II veterans from East Texas are about one week away from heading to Washington D.C.
They're going on what's known as a "honor flight" sponsored by Brookshire's.
We learned Wednesday the Republican National Committee is offering to pay security expenses to keep the World War II memorial open during the government shutdown.
It was republican members of congress, including East Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert, who moved the barricades for hundreds of veterans who came through the honor flight program earlier this week.
For many of these World War II veterans, this might be the only time they get to see the memorial that was built in their honor.
"Well, it will bring a lot of memories. Believe me. It will bring back a lot of memories," said Marvin Dees.
Marvin Dees applied a year ago to go on this honor trip. But, now there's a dark cloud overshadowing his travel plans.
"It's useless, unreal, but if you live long enough like I have, you would think you would have seen it all, but I think I seen just about all of it," said Dees.
Tuesday, the park service wouldn't budge to open the World War II memorial.
But Wednesday, just minutes before the veterans from Chicago arrived, the park service caved and opened the barricades themselves.
East Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert was there.
"It was an honor again to shake each World War II veterans hand to welcome them into their memorial and to see them proceed around the granite sidewalks that should be open 24/7," said Rep. Louie Gohmert.
For East Texas Veteran Marvin Dees, he's not going to let what's going on in Washington spoil his trip.
"We've got a bunch of irresponsible people up there in Washington D.C. I hope I don't run into any of them," laughed Dees.
There's no word at this point how the rest of the East Texas veterans trip could be impacted by the shut down. But, Sam Anderson with Brookshire's says organizers will do what they can to honor the veterans no matter what.
The 30 veterans will leave next Thursday.