WWII Veterans Storm D.C. Memorial Closed by Government Shutdown

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WWII Veterans Storm D.C. Memorial Closed by Government Shutdown


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 nation's capital, Stripes.com reports. 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 didn't come this far not to get in," one veteran proclaimed. 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 that 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. 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.

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