New wave of WWII veterans move barricades to access DC memorial - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

New wave of WWII veterans move barricades to access DC memorial

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WASHINGTON -

For the second day in a row, veterans of the greatest generation defied the government shutdown so they could tour the World War II Memorial. Many national landmarks run by the National Park Service are closed during the shutdown, but again on Wednesday, these veterans were allowed entrance.

Wednesday's wave of World War II veterans came from Missouri and Illinois. And when they arrived for a second day, barricades were once again pushed aside -- allowing them in.

Among the crowd welcoming them were several lawmakers joined in a gathering that felt like a boisterous act of civil disobedience.

"We're here to honor people from our states,” said Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri. “The elected officials that are here that don't have members from their states, they are trying to take advantage of these veterans by scoring political points and frankly it's infuriating."

But getting off Capitol Hill and mingling with constituents did not seem to change some lawmakers' view of the shutdown debate.

"If anything, I think it helps people stick to principles," said Rep. Lynn Jenkins of Kansas.

Veterans say the politics surrounding this memorial and the shutdown in general are downright frustrating. Many wondered why lawmakers could not stop fighting with each other for the greater good.

"This country isn’t used to individuals shutting things down. We're used to lifting things up," World War II veteran Ken Bonar WWII offered.

World War II veteran Pop Miller also spoke for many. He says he earned four Bronze Stars and says his generation did business differently. But in the end, for him and so many other veterans -- this day was not about politics. It was instead about having a personal and peaceful moment at their memorial.

"I think it's real nice. I thank God at least I lived to see it," Miller said.

A National Park Service employee stressed to FOX 5 that while the memorial remains closed to the general public, World War II veterans are being allowed to enter as part of their first amendment rights to free speech and peaceful assembly.


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