Veterans Pushing Past Memorial Barricades

One of the most visible sources of contention during the federal government shutdown has been the barricades blocking access to most national parks and monuments, including veteran memorials. Many people have questioned the efficacy of erecting barricades and posting additional law enforcement officers to enforce what is supposed to be stripping the cost of running the federal government. Additionally and more vocally, many have questioned the moral authority to block access to those memorials honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms.

On Sunday, a couple of different protest groups converged at the WWII Memorial, according to the Huffington Post. A trucker convoy and “The Million Vet March” cut barriers and moved them away, some bringing the barriers as far as the White House. Police officers at the White House were outfitted in riot gear. There are news photos of veterans, including a double amputee, carrying the heavy metal barriers away. Many were angry that recent Honor Flights taking vets in their 80’s and 90’s had been turned away, those veterans unlikely to have the opportunity to see the memorial again.

According to The Missoulian, bus drivers who were driving through the barricade-cleared area were threatened with arrest.

Still, many vets of all political persuasions are disgusted that the rogues’ gallery of “usual suspects” – political has-beens and never-were’s – used this occasion as an opportunity for national camera time. Some politicians were accusing the federal government of using the veterans as “pawns,” while they themselves were salivating at the prospect of appearing on the national news.

Also, as reported by CNN, many vets are uncomfortable by the blatantly anti-American values displayed at the rallies – such as Confederate flags, used as an anti-government symbol with a historically racist and threatening message.

Photo credit: Walter P Callahan & Missoulian.com

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