World War II Veterans break past barricades to see monument

their memorial had been closed because of government shutdown


by Michele McCormack

WASHINGTON D.C.-Outrage this first day of the government shutdown when veterans from World War II were stopped from entering the memorial in their honor.

The National Park Service had warned of having to closing down public attractions because of the government shutdown.

For hours tourists stayed behind the barricades and took pictures.

Then the cruel irony began to sink in when hundreds of veterans arrived by the busload, many of them in wheelchairs.

"It sad to have the shutdown," said Bill Webb, a veteran from Tupelo, MS. "But I guess somebody knows better than I do."

Eventually somebody opened the barricades and let the veterans through with a bagpiper leading the way.

Many of the veterans said afterwards that they knew it was their last chance to see the memorial and it was comforting to get an up close look.

But late word Tuesday is that Park Police will be clearing the monument and closing it off tomorrow.

Congresswoman Michele Bachman says several lawmakers saw this and assisted in cutting tape that kept the gates shut.

"You should have seen the veterans," Bachman later told reporters, "they were smiling from ear to ear."