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Greater St. Louis Honor Flight veterans line up to meet former Sen. Bob Dole at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., March 30, 2019.
Greater St. Louis Honor Flight veterans line up to meet former Sen. Bob Dole at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., March 30, 2019. (Stars and Stripes)
Greater St. Louis Honor Flight veterans line up to meet former Sen. Bob Dole at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., March 30, 2019.
Greater St. Louis Honor Flight veterans line up to meet former Sen. Bob Dole at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., March 30, 2019. (Stars and Stripes)
Honor Flight Chicago veterans salute during a ceremony honoring them at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. on July 10, 2019.
Honor Flight Chicago veterans salute during a ceremony honoring them at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. on July 10, 2019. (Emma Swislow/Stars and Stripes)

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WASHINGTON – The Honor Flight Network, which sends veterans to tour the war memorials in Washington, D.C., said Thursday that it would cancel trips to the nation’s capital through the end of August.

The network originally canceled trips through April 30 and later extended the cancellations through June, saying at the time that 170 flights were affected. The board of directors that governs the network decided to make another extension, citing the stay-at-home orders that remain in effect in Washington and nearby counties in Virginia and Maryland.

Though some states have begun to lift their stay-at-home orders, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Wednesday that she extended the district’s order through June 8. The city is lagging on coronavirus testing and hasn’t slowed the spread of infections enough to reopen, she said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended people at higher risk for the disease, including older adults and people with chronic medical conditions, avoid nonessential travel. Priority for the honor flights is often given to terminally ill and older veterans.

“Honor Flight trips are often a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for America’s veterans, so the organization does its best to keep all trips on time and on schedule,” Honor Flight Network said in a statement when it first canceled flights. “At the same time, Honor Flight’s highest priority during trips is to maintain the veterans’ safety.”

It was not immediately known Thursday how many additional flights would be canceled because of the extension through August.

wentling.nikki@stripes.com Twitter: @nikkiwentling

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Nikki Wentling has worked for Stars and Stripes since 2016. She reports from Congress, the White House, the Department of Veterans Affairs and throughout the country about issues affecting veterans, service members and their families. Wentling, a graduate of the University of Kansas, previously worked at the Lawrence Journal-World and Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. The National Coalition of Homeless Veterans awarded Stars and Stripes the Meritorious Service Award in 2020 for Wentling’s reporting on homeless veterans during the coronavirus pandemic. In 2018, she was named by the nonprofit HillVets as one of the 100 most influential people in regard to veterans policymaking.
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