WWII Vets Memorial: Veterans Force Their Way In

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A group of World War II veterans refused to let today's government shutdown prevent them from entering the WWII memorial site this morning. As much of the country is certainly aware of already, as of midnight on September 30, the federal government was effectively shutdown. As a result, all of the national parks and national monuments were also closed off from the public. Congress has been working federal spending deal, but was unable to do so, and the government was forced to shut down as a result.

That information was not enough to stop a group of 92 Mississippi Gulf Coast Honor Flight Veterans from entering the memorial in Washington D.C. this morning. Although it was technically closed, they found a way in and were able to tour the site anyway. ABC News states that the vets were taking part in the Mississippi Gulf Coast Honor Flight that was originally established in 2011 in order to help WWII veterans fly from Mississippi to Washington D.C. It will help them travel to the memorial free of charge, and provide tours in order for them to see the memorials dedicated to their honorable service.

Honor Flights scheduled for the month of October have been notified that the memorial will be closed until the federal government re-opens. Those that were able to tour the memorial today because the memorial was re-closed this afternoon and will remain that way until funding is restored. When the veterans arrived today, the memorial was encased with metal barricades. Dozens of people, including several in wheelchairs, made their way onto the grounds of the monument just before noon. They took a tour of the historic memorial while being watched by police officers, national park personnel and tourists, according to the Washington Times.

The group was accompanied by a group of Congress members and Senator Steve King, of Iowa, reportedly distracted the guards and gave them the opportunity to break through. King, along with other members of Congress, voiced their support for the veterans after the incident. The group of veterans was only able to stay for less than a hour, but Park Service spokeswoman Carol Johnson said the officials were trying to be as accommodating as possible. It is hard to know how long it will be before these national parks and monuments are open to the public again, but let's hope that this government shutdown does not last long and Congress can figure out what to do soon.

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