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    Posted October 4, 2013 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Shutdown over: What next?

    Honor Flight and Government Shutdown

    Last Saturday, while making a connection at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, I was fortunate to surprisingly witness the arrival of an Honor Flight from Rochester, NY. The experience brought me to tears as I saw the love and validation that so many volunteers, service men and women, and airport personnel showered upon a generation that had nothing, but gave all for our freedom. This was all very moving. With the shutdown of the government that occurred on Tuesday, Congress initially, by their inaction, put undue stress on these Americans, who are in their 80's and 90's and for many will likely be their last trip.
    In my humble opinion, I feel that Congress is letting them and the majority of Americans down. We can't have a Congress of bi-partisan millionaires passing laws which affect the average and below-average Americans, when they don't live by the same set of rules themselves. There needs to be an examination of the extravagant pensions, Cadillac health plans, lavish expense budgets, cars and other entitlements, which are excessive luxuries that are not within the reach of the average constituent. Greed and an amassing of wealth should never be a motivator to serve ones country. It's hard to explain it otherwise. This certainly wasn't the case for the Honor Flight passengers or the men and women fighting today, who come back maimed physically, mentally and financially. They endure hardships on American soil trying to get rehabilitation in order to salvage their damaged lives in attempts to support their families.
    In order for Congress to have a grasp on reality, they should be made to live on minimum wage; try to support a family; try to find affordable health insurance and daycare on this salary. For this experiment to be successful, they shouldn't have the ability to dip into a hidden bank account. Then and only then will there, hopefully, be a reality check. Among other things, a flat tax might be a consideration in finding fairness. The playing field has to be leveled, and the dysfunction in Washington has to stop! If the average worker doesn't perform at their job, they are ultimately fired. At best, the salaries for members of Congress should cease until this disgraceful situation has ended.
    In closing, as one 88 year-old Honor Flight attendants stated in the newspaper, "They're acting like 5 year-olds."
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