U.S. Park Police announced Monday it would resume the escorts veterans taking part in excursions with Honor Flight, which organizes trips for veterans, often wounded or elderly, to tour national war monuments and other sites in the nation’s capital.
“Having witnessed many first hand, these escorts are one of the few good things that the federal government facilitates; we shouldn’t screw it up,” Roy told Fox News Digital in an exclusive statement. Roy spearheaded a congressional effort in April with 75 members of Congress calling on Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to resume the escorts.
“I’m happy that the administration has finally come to its senses and realized that as well. Bottom line, veterans put their lives on the line to keep this republic free, and they deserve to be treated accordingly when they visit our nation’s capital,” Roy said.
“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,” Roy’s letter stated.
Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., led a letter with a bipartisan group of the Florida congressional delegation in March urging DOI to resume the police escorts.
The Honor Flight Network has led more than 240,000 veterans of World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam, on all-expenses-paid trips around Washington, D.C. Many of the veterans on the trips are terminally ill or disabled.
“It is an honor of the highest order for the National Park Service and Honor Flight Network to serve our nation’s veterans in this way, and we look forward to continuing our long partnership that recognizes their service and sacrifice,” the Interior Department and Honor Flight said in a joint press release Monday announcing the new agreement.
The Interior Department said park police will resume the escorts June 1 for Honor Flight trips to the capital, but will no longer provide some services. The more than 300 Honor Flight trips each year were making it “increasingly difficult” to provide full escort services, according to the press release said.
Prior to the suspension of the police escort services in 2020, U.S. Park Police escorted traveling veterans from the three major airports around Washington into the district, which “is now recognized to be inappropriate in non-emergency situations and inconsistent with modern law enforcement best practices.”
The department will focus instead on guiding veterans around the memorials, including a traffic escort across to cross the bridge from the Lincoln Memorial and into Arlington National Cemetery.