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Why Is the Biden Admin Denying Veterans the Heroes’ Welcome to DC They’ve Earned?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
AP Photo/The Messenger-Inquirer, Jenny Sevcik

The Biden administration's COVID insanity is nothing new, nor is the slowed recovery America is churning through — more often in spite of Biden rather than due to his policies. The president missed his own COVID vaccination goals despite breaking his promise to not mandate COVID shots and proceeded to get rolled by multiple new variants after promising he had the master plan to "shut down the virus." Biden later essentially threw up his hands and declared there was no federal solution to COVID but just this week announced yet another two-week extension of the federal mask mandate for travel by plane, train, and public transit.  

Throughout the pandemic, many Democrat leaders seemed to be trying to inflict punitive restrictions on the public, and the Biden administration seems to be continuing the trend through the policies of Interior Secretary Deb Haaland in a new shameful and inexplicable way.

As Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) highlighted in a letter to Secretary Haaland this week, America’s veterans arriving in the nation’s capital through the Honor Flight network for tours of D.C. and their war memorials are not currently receiving escorts from the United States Park Police as they did before the pandemic.

The Park Police used to provide escorts for the coach buses that picked veterans up from the airport and ferried them around D.C. to war memorials and Arlington National Cemetery.

“The escort services play a critical logistical role in ensuring these once-in-a-lifetime opportunities run smoothly and safely,” noted Roy of the USPP escorts for Honor Flight groups. “It is imperative that veterans – particularly those with physical disabilities – have the necessary parking access to ensure ease of entry to each war memorial to get the full experience they have earned.”

Indeed it is. The Honor Flight network provides an incredible and unique service by giving America’s veterans from across the country the chance to visit the nation’s capital and see, touch, and walk through the national war memorials dedicated to their heroism. The veterans are in D.C. for just one day, arriving in the morning and departing in the evening, meaning the Park Police escorts were and are critical to keeping the tour running on schedule so veterans get to see, and have enough time to take in, the monuments built to commemorate their sacrifices.

Since its founding in 2005, the Honor Flight organization has brought more than 245,000 veterans of World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and terminally ill service members to Washington. One such veteran was my grandfather, Korean War veteran Leonard A. Schreiber, whose Honor Flight trip my cousin and I were able to be a part of.

Among many memorable moments from that day was my grandfather’s reaction to the escort we received. At first, when he heard the sirens and saw the escort’s flashing lights, he thought the tour bus was being pulled over. When I told him that the police weren’t there to stop us but in fact there to escort him and his fellow veterans, he couldn’t believe it. It’s hard to shock someone who’s spent more than 85 years on the earth, but his humble spirit couldn’t believe someone would escort him, a farm boy from rural Minnesota, around the nation’s capital. In that moment, he told me and my cousin that he felt like the President of the United States.

Moments and memories like that are being taken away from veterans and their loved ones by the Biden administration’s apparent refusal to resume Park Police escorts for Honor Flight groups, not to mention the potential time lost to sitting in traffic or mobility hazards arising from a lack of guaranteed access to the memorials.

But, some may say, the U.S. Park Police and many other federal agencies and their overseeing cabinet secretaries are still working on reopening and restaffing after Democrats’ COVID restrictions shut them down.  Well, not exactly.

As it turns out, the U.S. Park Police, as it touted on Twitter, was able to have its chief, honor guard, horse mounted unit, and motorcycle unit participate in last week’s Cherry Blossom Festival parade. Obviously, if the USPP has enough resources and the ability to meander in parades, they could be escorting Honor Flight tour groups. And there are few more-deserving to receive such resources than America’s war veterans. 

As Rep. Roy emphasized in his letter to Interior Secretary Haaland, “Our brave veterans have made tremendous sacrifices to secure the freedoms we enjoy today. As a nation, we owe it to our heroes to give them the utmost honor and privilege that they deserve on their Honor Flight to Washington, D.C.”

It’s time for our veterans to receive the heroes treatment and welcome to Washington, D.C. they’ve earned, and it’s up to President Biden and Secretary Haaland to make sure they do. 


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