Skip to comments.WWII veterans storm D.C. memorial closed by government shutdown
Posted on 10/01/2013 2:45:16 PM PDT by dennisw
WASHINGTON Wheelchair-bound elderly veterans pushed aside barricades to tour the World War II Memorial Tuesday morning, in defiance of the government shutdown which closed all of the memorials in the nations capital.
The four bus loads of veterans visiting from Mississippi as part of a once-in-a-lifetime Honor Flight tour ignored National Park Police instructions not to enter the site as lawmakers and tourists cheered them on.
We didnt come this far not to get in, one veteran proclaimed.
The scene was both emotional and comical at once. After it was clear they had lost control of the situation, Park Police officials stood aside, telling press that they had asked for guidance on how to respond to the breach of security.
As 80-something veterans slowly walked around the massive war memorial, Park Police stood quietly to the side, advising other tourists that the site was technically still closed. But they made no moves to stop the wishes of the war heroes.
The memorial was closed because of the government shutdown which started 11 hours earlier, after lawmakers failed to pass a temporary budget plan to keep nonessential federal programs operating. Republicans and Democrats have been stalled in budget fight for weeks, mostly over legislative add-ons dealing with the new healthcare law.
As a result, more than 800,000 federal employees were furloughed Tuesday, set to return only after Congress reaches a compromise. National parks and federal buildings were closed down. And the WWII Memorial along with the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and much of the rest of the Capitol were barricaded, to keep tourists away.
Several Republican lawmakers were on hand to greet the Mississippi Honor Flight veterans at the memorial on Tuesday, and nodded thoughtfully as the greatest generation representatives voiced their displeasure at being turned away from their own memorial.
Organizers said the trip took months of planning and nearly $100,000 in donations for airfare, food and buses. A dozen more are scheduled in the next week.
Its great to be here, but its really disappointing that we cant get closer to see it, said Gene Tolley, a Marine Corps veteran who served in the Pacific during the war. I came through the city back in high school, but I was looking forward to coming back and seeing this.
He got his wish.
As Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, distracted a Park Police representative, other lawmakers and their staff helped topple the metal fences. A bagpiper on hand for the event led the men past the crowd and into the heart of the memorial, attracting a large, applauding crowd.
This just means so much to me, said Alex Lou Pitalo, an Army vet who also served in the Pacific during WWII. I waited 70 years to get a welcome like this. And to get to see this and to have all those people clapping Im just so happy. This was amazing.
Officials from the Honor Flight network, which organized the tour, said they have advised upcoming trip planners that the memorials will not be open to the public, and to plan accordingly.
Meanwhile, at press time, Park Police said they were still reviewing how to handle similar problems in the future, since they still have no indication when the government shutdown will be resolved.
.........I totally agree too! These guys should be treated with reverence!
So it does cost taxpayers more to keep WW2 vets away from the WW2 memorial.I thought they might have to pay a multitute of gov. employees to man a booth where WW2 vets had to buy their permit to look at the WW2 memorial.
Was the “honor” flight of 80 year old veterans gate raped by the TSA?
asked for guidance on how to respond to the breach of security.”
I bet they will have the dogs out and fully loaded M4’s with those Hollow Point training rounds in 30 round magazine’s.
Tazers at the ready!
Teach those old geezers to storm the memorial. Terrorists!
Obama was probably hoping for a photo-op, showing the wheelchair-bound WW II vets sadly stopped at the shuttered gate. Does anyone know if the media was there today, or are these all private photos? I’m guessing that if they were there, the media, once they witnessed the (gasp!) civil disobedience, slunk away in horror, hoping to bury the story.
If there was a request made for temporary volunteer caretakers for these monuments and parks, there would be an outpouring of support from the public. These are the people’s parks. Not the politicians. With such volunteerism There would be no vandalism.
All we need is leadership that is willing to provide a method for volunteers to help. All of these Americans and foreigners that then had planned vacations to attend the parks could be handled. If only we had leadership and foresight from both Parties. Instead the only thing they want is to get reelected.
Probably Same trick as with the sequester.
Try it yourself then.
Evil ploy by Obama and his enablers i.e. using government employees to close a public financed memorial. Being a vet of WWII with service in the Pacific just another notch against the bunch. To make matters even more disgusting for me is that my brothers name, killed on Okinawa, is kept from a person like myself who donated funding for the Memorial only to find that someone like Obama, a coward from military service’ can be given authority to block me from paying respects at any time. I hope that all vets of WWII will see this as a crass use of authority from a joint smoking draft dodger provided he was a USA citizen.
For those of you who would like to experience this vicariously, buy or rent this:
It's a must see!!
I’m saying that something provoked that kind of response and asked you to tell the whole story. Thanks.
Good for these brave military me.
Democrats are mean, spiteful, little pricks.
How many vets will pass who planned to visit? All because of a tantrum by Obama and other democrats.
They will probably be punished.
I hope not. Their respectfulness to elderly veterans should be rewarded. But as you indicated, no good deed goes unpunished.
If I could be there, as G-d is my Witness, I would be. Damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead!
How will they be punished? By taking away their AARP cards?