Members of Congress, the public and the media were on hand to help the veterans get access to the site, removing barricades and tape. A spokeswoman for the U.S. National Park Service told reporters on the scene that the White House Office of Management and Budget issued the order for the memorial to be closed off.
Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Reps. Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.), Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.), Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.), Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.), John Kline (R-Minn.) and Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) talked to veterans and voiced their disapproval for the closing of the memorial.
"Politics about veterans is bad manners" says Sen. Claire McCaskill pic.twitter.com/3UMH0zv0aQ— Carli Sprague (@carlisprague) October 2, 2013
Even members of Congress who weren’t in attendance expressed their disappointment with the closure.
“President Obama is so fixated on forcing Obamacare on the American people that he’s even willing to deny World War II veterans the right to access the memorial they have earned through their heroic service,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said in a statement.
“It is a granite sidewalk — it’s a sidewalk!” Gohmert told Fox News on Wednesday.”They [U.S. National Park Service] spent extra money to go find barriers to put up in front of these World War II vets. And I’m wondering what are they going to do next — hang a drapery over Mt. Rushmore? I mean, this is ridiculous!”
The group of veterans was there as part of a tour organized by the Honor Flight Network. According to the flight schedule, the vets visiting on Wednesday are from Chicago, Missouri and New Mexico. They also took time to gather and sing “Amazing Grace” at the memorial.
Veterans singing Amazing Grace at WWII memorial. pic.twitter.com/ktOv48MfAX— Carli Sprague (@carlisprague) October 2, 2013
The World War II memorial was primarily funded by private donations, according to its website.
At the time of this article, Honor Flight Network had not returned request for comment.