By Leo Shane III, Air Force Times
U.S. Park Police officials have agreed to resume escorts for Honor Flight events around the nation’s capital, continuing a tradition that had been interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.
The news came just one day before the group’s celebration on the National Mall of the 250,000th veteran transported through the program. Since 2005, officials have helped veterans from across the country visit Washington, D.C. for an opportunity to tour the war memorials and national landmarks there.
In many cases, the veterans are elderly and in poor health, and are able to make the trip only because of the special medical and financial assistance provided by the group.
In the past, the U.S. Park Police provided escorts to tour buses filled with veterans visiting areas of the National Mall with limited parking, such as the World War II memorial and Vietnam War Memorial Wall. Honor Flight officials reimbursed the agency for the costs of the escorts.
Honor Flight activities were largely shuttered by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but resumed last fall. However, Park Police officials in recent months have told organizers they could no longer assist with the events because of bureaucratic issues with the Department of Interior.
On Monday, officials said those problems have been resolved. Escorts will resume starting June 1.
In a joint statement, officials from the Park Police, the National Mall and Memorial Parks agency and Honor Flight said they have met in recent weeks “to discuss our shared commitment to continuing to work together and the best way to safely support hosted visits while also ensuring USPP can meet its primary law enforcement and public safety mission.”
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