In the wake of the government shutdown, access to the memorials in Washington has been closed. The National Park Service set up barricades in order to prevent people from visiting local monuments. Members of the greatest generation refused to let that stop them:
It was an act of civil disobedience that marked the fact some barriers nor a government shutdown would keep a group of World War II veterans from visiting the monument erected in their honor. Several dozen vets from a Mississippi Gulf Coast Honor Flight took in the sites at the World War II memorial Tuesday afternoon, including 93-year-old veteran John Murphy.
"Wanted to come ever since they opened," he said. "It's an honor to be here."
Murphy was satisfied just seeing the memorial through the fence, as barricades had been placed at the memorial due to the shutdown.
But suddenly, the gates opened, allowing the vets to get inside, check out the memorial and snap a few photos. In video taken at the monument, two unidentified men in suits opened the barricades.
This allowed the group of veterans to make their way onto the monument grounds.
This is fantastic stuff and Honor Flight is an amazing program that flies World War II veterans to Washington to see their own memorial. Freethink Media created a beautiful documentary on Honor Flight. To get a sense of what it's all about, check out the trailer.
However, this was not the end of the story. The government is continuing to try and bar access to the memorials despite the great effort required to bring these veterans to Washington. Senator Rand Paul rightfully called the people making these decisions "idiots":
"Some idiot in government sent goons out there to set up barricades, so they couldn’t see the monument. People had to spend hours setting up barricades where there are never barricades to prevent people from seeing the World War II monument because they’re trying to play a charade,” Rand (R-Ky.) said Tuesday on Fox News’s “Hannity.”
Intentionally taking the time to bar access to memorials (that quite honestly do not need much tending during the day) is a mistake. Allow these heroes to see how their country honored them. To not do so is to dishonor their service.