Since I was in AJROTC, I have followed several different organizations for Veterans. The two I check on regularly are POW/MIA and Honor Flight. POW/MIA helps track down lost soldiers and to provide families with closure as well are remembrance. Honor Flight helps organize and bring World War II, Korean, and Vietnam veterans to DC to see the memorials dedicated to them. They help plan and organize transportation and medical needs while traveling. I am a big fan and supporter of both of these organizations and will at times go to events to volunteer my time.
This month is full of Honor Flights traveling to DC to see the WWII memorial however they have been met with some resistance. With the government shut-down, all of the memorials are closed and have barricades blocking access. Park Police told people that the memorials are closed and were turning people away. There was a large concern that the Honor Flight Vets would not be allowed to see the memorial dedicated to them. I personally went down to the Mall to see what was going on and if police would arrest vets for trying to see the memorial.
There were about 100 protesters at the memorial to show support for the Vets and to help them gain access. Park Rangers and Police were both present but they turned their backs and allowed the Vets to gain access. Close to 20 politicians walked down from Capitol Hill and spoke with Vets about the shut-down and to thank them for their service. You could get the feeling that many vets were not pleased with all the commotion over not being allowed to see the memorials. Some politicians where trying to explain what was the reasons for the shut-down but many hecklers where out in force calling for resignations.
I am glad that these Vets were able to tour the memorial because it is a very moving and beautiful site that honors the greatest generation that has lived. Many more Honor Flights are scheduled to arrive and tour the WWII memorial. A post later said that Vets will be allowed to visit the site even if it is technically closed to conduct their 1st amendments rights in accordance with National Park Service regulations.
Below are many pictures taken from today’s event.