Despite the recent shutdown of the Federal government and the closure of all our national monuments and parks, dozens of veterans barricaded outside the closed World War II Memorial were escorted past the barriers Tuesday, by a few members of Congress, so they could see the monument.

More than 125 veterans from Mississippi and Iowa arrived for a previously scheduled visit to the memorial Tuesday morning to find it barricaded by the National Park Service. Some members of Congress escorted them inside after cutting police tape and moving barriers that blocked the memorial.

John Kleinschmidt, 87, of Ames, Iowa, said the barriers were opened just enough for his group to walk through freely by the time he arrived.  Kleinschmidt was trained as a flight engineer during World War II, but never went over seas.

“It’s unfortunate that this is what happens when they know that there are busloads of veterans coming down here, and they don’t have the good sense to say keep the damn thing open,” he said. “These are the guys that created it.”

The Honor Flight Network brings groups of World War II veterans from across the country for free to visit the memorial built in their honor on an almost daily basis.

Wayne Lennep, a volunteer with the Mississippi Coast Guard Honor Flight group, said the trip had been planned for months for a group of 91 veterans as well as family members and escorts.  Their chartered plane left Gulfport, Miss., on Tuesday morning.

The veterans were met at the memorial by Sen. Roger Wicker and Reps. Steven Palazzo, Alan Nunnelee and Gregg Harper, all Mississippi Republicans.

Palazzo told the Mississippi Press of Pascagoula that he moved the barricades.

National Park Service spokeswoman Carol Johnson said park rangers enjoy greeting the veterans. The memorial was closed, she said, because of an order to close all park service grounds to protect the sites and keep visitors safe while more than 300 workers are furloughed.

“This is not something the park service wanted to do.  We’d like to get back to work,” Johnson said.

Charles Ricketts, a veteran from Ames, Iowa, blamed Congress, not the National Park Service, for nearly ruining his group’s trip.

“I’m not impressed with Congress’ ability or the president,” he said. “They’re not showing us much leadership and judgment.  It’s all political.”

These so called humanitarian law-makers knew that these veterans were coming and that is why they were there at the World War II Memorial.  This is showboating in the finest and if these same individuals gave a “shit” about the American people of which these Vets are part of, they would have never voted to shut down the government in the first place.

If you think that these Congressional members were on the up and up, why was this event so highly publicized and documented with numerous pictures of these lawmakers posing with these veterans?  Maybe it’s a plan to show the public how patriotic they are?  If I was there, I would sure tell them where they could put their national pride.

 

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