Shutdown throwdown: battle of the World War II memorial
Update: Bless my stars and garters! Rep. Palazzzo told the Daily Caller the White House and Interior Department received his request to keep the memorial open for World War II veterans, and explicitly denied them.
“We got the heads up that they will be barricaded and specifically asked for an exception for these heroes,” Palazzo told TheDC. “We were denied and told, ‘It’s a government shutdown, what do you expect?’ when we contacted the liaison for the White House.”
Palazzo’s office was in touch with the heads of the National Park Service, the Department of the Interior and the Capitol Police. He says all these officials rejected his request to allow the veterans, many of whom are octogenarians and some of whom are in poor health, to attend.
Palazzo, a Gulf War Marine veteran who has participated in all five of the Honor Flights, blames the White House for making it harder on veterans and playing politics. “At first I thought it was a huge bureaucratic oversight,” Palazzo told The Daily Caller, “but having talked with the officials I can’t help but think this was politically motivated. Honor Flights, which bring WWII veterans to the nation’s memorials, are planned a year in advance and cost anywhere between $80,000 to $100,000. How low can you get with playing politics over our nation’s veterans?”
Well, those elderly veterans should have known better than to come between Barack Obama and his beloved Big Government. Pound sand, octogenarians! That ought to do wonders for Obama’s flagging approval ratings. Too bad he didn’t show up in person to send the Greatest Generation packing.
Update: It gets even better… the National Park Service website for the World War II memorial states that it’s open 24 hours a day, even though rangers are on duty only part of the time. Obama invested extra time and money trying to keep people out – including the heroes honored by the memorial – just to make the shutdown hurt more. Take a bow, Obama voters! You must be so proud of him right now.
Update: House Democrats were able to kill a bill that would have funded parks and national attractions, including the World War II memorial. Take that, war heroes!
The Honor Flight from Toledo was told World War II veterans would face arrest if they try to visit the memorial President Obama has deemed off-limits to them next week. Honor Flight of Northwest Ohio president Lee Armstrong related the conversation to WNWO News:
Honor Flight of Northwest Ohio has a trip scheduled to depart from Toledo next Wednesday, October 9.
“We will make the call this Friday to determine if the flight is still a go, or if we will have to re-schedule,” Armstrong explains.
He says they are considering going ahead with the trip even if the government is still on shutdown, but when he called the parks service, he was told they would face arrest.
Armstrong says, “I said, are you kidding me? You’re going to arrest a 90/91-year-old veteran from seeing his memorial? If it wasn’t for them it wouldn’t be there. She said, ‘That’s correct sir.’”
When he asked for her name, he says she did not give it to him and then promptly hung up the phone.
In your face, champions of liberty!
Update: From Twitchy.com comes a photo of the triumphant World War II vets heading home with a trophy: a piece of police tape taken from the scene of the showdown.
Update: A protester at the memorial holds up one of the greatest signs ever, quoting timeless words from a far better President:
Update: Sorry, Obama dead-enders, no way for the Empty Chair to wiggle out of this one. It’s been confirmed the orders to block off the memorial came from the White House Office of Management and Budget. Obama sent more guards to confront the World War II vets today, and he was once again defeated, as the vets entered the memorial with help from Republican members of congress. Buck up, Democrats! Maybe you’ll beat the heroes of the Greatest Generation into submission on Day Three!
Update: … or maybe not, because it looks like this just turned into a total Obama rout. The Park Service is announcing that the World War II memorial will remain open for “First Amendment activities” throughout the shutdown. Tough break, Democrats!
Update: Korean War veterans are pretty good at getting past a spoiled politician’s temper-tantrum barricades, too.
As we all should have learned from the sequestration circus, the federal government reacts instantly, and viciously, to all citizen threats. Anything related to a reduction in spending is designed to be as painful for the citizenry as possible. The illusion of life becoming unsustainable without a government five times the size of what our parents lived under must be sustained.
Thus, even though a vastly smaller and less expensive national government was able to keep public parks running Back In the Day, the partial government shutdown was only hours old when various memorials were declared “closed.” (Shades of the sequestration strangulation of those White House tours!) Some of these memorials are not at all labor-intensive. In fact, it takes more manpower to close them and shoo people away.
As it happens, the Honor Flight Network had brought a group of World War II veterans to the nation’s capital today, to see the monument erected in their honor. They found it closed off and surrounded by barriers. They were not amused by this performance of Shutdown Theater, and they are very good at storming inaccessible locations.
According to CNN, 92 of them went over the barricades and had their tour of the memorial, led by a man playing bagpipes and supported by applause from the crowd. Twitchy has more pictures of the action, but it sounds like something I’m going to spend the rest of my life regretting that I didn’t see in person.
ABC News reports that Republicans have been quick to support the veterans, and they’ve had a bit of help from across the aisle, with Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) joining Rep. Steve King (R-IA) and Michele Bachmann (R-MN) at the scene. Harkin, of course, blamed Republicans for the shutdown, perhaps having slept through Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid killing all those bills that would have kept the government running.
King doubted the Secretary of the Interior would have made the “spiteful” decision to close off the memorial, and said it “has to be a White House decision.” Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) wondered why Park Service personnel would be deployed to keep people away from the monument, rather than helping the World War II vets complete their visit. When the Republican representatives opened up the barriers to allow veterans through, the park security personnel reportedly made no efforts to hold them back.
The Republican National Committee is running a petition in support of the vets, while House GOP leadership told CNN they would introduce bills on Tuesday to fund more sections of the government, including the Park Service.
Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-MS) wrote a letter to President Obama right before the shutdown, declaring, “It would be truly devastating to our veterans that travel great lengths to share this experience with family and friends and see a piece of their own history… I request that you immediately instruct the Department of the Interior and National Service to ensure that veterans are not denied access to monuments on the National Mall in the case of a government shutdown. It is the very least we can do for our Greatest Generation, who sacrificed so much on behalf of our country.” It would be funny if the President who violated the Constitution to push the ObamaCare employer mandate back a year claimed he doesn’t have the power to keep these monuments open.