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PHOENIX -- Over two dozen World War II veterans flew out of Sky Harbor on Tuesday to visit the memorial dedicated to their service.

The nonprofit organization Honor Flight sent the 29 veterans to the memorial in Washington free of charge.

Judd Lotts was on the flight. He served in the Navy from 1942 to 1945.

"This is the greatest thing that's ever happened to me as a veteran," he said. "I've never been catered to or thought of, and this is something to have this come up."

Honor Flight has been sending World War II vets to the capitol since 2005.

"What they see when they travel are people coming up to them saying, 'Thank you so much for your service,' " said Susan Howe, founder of Honor Flight Arizona. "They see an appreciation for America that they haven't seen or heard for a while."

The memorial, which operates under the National Park Service, is closed to the public because of the government shutdown. Howe said they received special permits to remove the barriers, and let the men walk through.

Earlier this week, a large crowd moved aside the barriers to allow veterans inside to see the memorial.

Aaron Granillo, News Editor

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