"Honor Flight" vets cross shutdown-imposed barricades to visit WWII Memorial

The video will no doubt be glorious but I can’t find any yet. For the time being, we’ll have to rely on Stars & Stripes reporter Leo Shane, who was on the scene when GOP Rep. Steve King distracted a park cop so that the vets could stream in.


They came to Washington to see the memorial, and damn it, they were going to see it.

WWII vets from Iowa followed the vets from Mississippi in and then, naturally, “politicians” descended on the scene. Result:


I’m eager to know how it all came together. King was there, I assume, simply to accompany the Iowa vets, but it’s a brilliant bit of publicity to counter the left’s sky-is-falling spin on the shutdown. If the vets had been turned away, it would have become a media passion play about Republican obstructionism thwarting a tender moment among the “Greatest Generation.” As it is, Ace is right — it’s a lesson in the stupidity of shutdown theater, which started last night with the Statue of Liberty and no doubt would have turned to the WWII Memorial had the Honor Flight vets not scrambled the narrative. Turns out you can open an unstaffed national memorial to the public when the government is closed and not have anarchy break out. Who knew?


Exit question via Sonny Bunch: In terms of sheer stupidity, will anything top using websites for shutdown theater?

Update: Per TPM, it was GOP Rep. Steve Palazzo of Mississippi, presumably onhand to greet the vets from his home state, who opened the barricade:

Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-MS) “opened the barricade” and allowed a group of 91 veterans on Tuesday to storm into the closed World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., according to a representative from the group.

Jen Walton, the secretary of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Honor Flight, which had been scheduled to visit the memorial Tuesday, told TPM the group “went in about 30 minutes ago” and hadn’t necessarily planned to enter the memorial if it was closed.

“We didn’t have a definite plan, so we knew we were going to come here and just see what was going on and if we were going to be able to go in,” said Walton in a phone interview.

Steve Hayes wonders: Doesn’t it take more manpower to close the Memorial than to keep it open?

Update: Both ABC and WaPo have picked up the story. Money quote from the latter:

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) said he believed the Park Service opened the gates. Rep Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.) said the congressmen did it. Rep. Steven M. Palazzo (R-Miss.) said the barricades just seemed to part.

“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.”…

“It’s the best civil disobedience we’ve seen in Washington for a long time,” Huizenga told the veterans.


Vets from Puerto Rico also reportedly moved the barricades aside at the Korean War Memorial to lay a wreath.

Update: It might happen again tomorrow.


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