By Alisha McDarris
For Hometown News
TREASURE COAST -- The inaugural Twilight Honor Flight 5K on Nov. 1 is about more than participants rushing to the finish line amid aerial acrobatics and fireworks, decked out in red, white and blue glow gear as they race around all of the air show festivities.
It's about raising money and voices to grant America's veterans what they've longed for years to see.
The fundraising 5K takes place at Witham Airport right after the National Anthem at the Stuart Air Show and benefits Honor Flight, an organization that flies World War II veterans to Washington D.C. to see the World War II monument.
But with the recent government shutdown, the monument, along with many other attractions, has been closed to the public.
So in an effort to ensure those who served get to see the memorial erected in their honor, not only will race registration proceeds benefit honor flight, but Fair Wind Air Charter, who is sponsoring the race, is asking participants to write to politicians asking for the barricades to be lowered.
"The memorial was built in their honor and having them stand outside the gates is just a disgrace," said Alex Beringer, executive vice president at Fair Wind Air Charter.
No one is certain whether or not the barricades will be open when the next group of area veterans arrive on Oct. 19, but the trip is still on.
What Mr. Beringer and so many others are hoping is that so many people appeal to their congressmen, senators, and even the president, that the politicians will reopen the memorial to the public.
The corporation has even gone as far as providing links on their website with contact information for those politicians to make it as easy as possible for the community to email or send Facebook and twitter messages their representatives to fight for the cause.
Mr. Beringer suggests calling on elected officials to work together to find a way to allow the deserving veterans to enjoy the memorial, something many of them may never have the opportunity to see again.
"Keep it polite and keep it respectful, but let your opinions be known," Mr. Beringer said. "I'm hoping a lot of people reach out to their leadership."
He doesn't know if barricades will be lifted in time for the October flight, but he hopes the veterans find open doors, open arms and no obstacles when they arrive in the nation's capital.
Links to the contact information of locally elected officials can be found at www.flyfairwind.com under the Twilight Honor Flight 5K link.
Runners and walkers can register for the race on www.active.com.