Veterans in the nation’s capital aren’t letting a little government shutdown get in the way of their visit to war memorials.
The Washington Post reports that elderly vets, along with a few grandstanding members of Congress, pushed past barricades at the World War II and Korean War memorials.
“I’m not going to enforce the ‘no stopping or standing’ sign for a group of 90 World War II veterans,” said a U.S. Park Police officer, who declined to give his name. “I’m a veteran myself.”
The veterans, from Mississippi, were visiting the memorial on the Mall as part of an honor flight program. They had chartered an $80,000 airplane, and their plans were too far advanced to postpone when the government shut down, said Wayne Lennep, spokesman for the Mississippi Gulf Coast honor flights.
At the Korean War Memorial, a group of veterans from Puerto Rico also moved barricades aside in order to lay a wreath. The veterans represented members of the 65th Army regiment, which fought in Korea.
Anthony Mele, president of the regiment’s honor task force, said a Park Police officer admonished the group that the site was closed and then “literally turned his face and walked away” as the men moved the barriers in order to enter.