D.C.

Government Shutdown 2013: More veterans rally at WWII memorial

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WASHINGTON (WJLA) - Barriers still line the perimeter of the World War II Memorial, and signs remain posted to warn visitors that the area is technically off-limits due to the federal shutdown.

But that didn’t stop this group of veterans from making their way in.

"It's unbelievable," says an astonished Dane Gregg. "It was on my bucket list to be able to come to Washington to see this, and now that I've seen this it's more than I ever expected."

The group consists of veterans and uniformed services organizations from all across the country. Its members came to the nemorial to demand an end to the government shutdown, and to call for the reopening of all war memorials.

"It's something to see, everyone should see it," says veteran John Tory.

Tuesday’s gathering is a far cry from this weekend’s rally, during which a group of veterans forcefully removed the barricades from the memorials and walked them over to the White House; demonstrators clashed with Park Police officers in riot gear.

That wild scene motivated Alexandria resident and Iraq war veteran David Roper to come out on Tuesday with a message:

"I just thought it was embarassing. I mean, they're free to do whatever they want, protest-wise -- I just thought it was misguided, walking to the White House with those things."

There is a narrow path allowing access to the memorial. If it wasn’t for that, many of the veterans – some in wheelchairs – say they too would have rioted in order to gain access.

Says 90-year-old WWII veteran Leo Comstock, "I would have climbed over the fence, I would have gone to jail!"

"Enough of the games and posturing," adds fellow vet Nick McCormick. "What we're trying to say here today is end the games. We want to see an end to the shutdown so that veterans aren't subjected to this lingering doubt as to what's going to happen with their benefits."

 

 

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