90 year old veterans storm the Barrycades

The large World War ll Memorial on Washington's National Mall is a series of outdoor groupings; not encased in a building, it is open in all kinds of weather 24/7/365 for the many tourists, especially the remaining veterans of that devastating war which ended nearly 70 years ago. 

The Mall itself has police and some other security, both visible and disguised, but at the beginning of the government shut down the President of the United States, Barack Obama (D), whose own grandfather fought in World War ll, ordered Barrycades and guards around the Memorial, forbidding access.  Indeed, there were more guards protecting the Memorial from the aged--and apparently extremely dangerous--veterans than protecting Americans at the presumed peaceful American compound in Benghazi, Libya according to a report in the Washington Examiner. 

At the World War II Memorial on The Mall in Washington, where veterans have been staging protests to keep it open, Washington Examiner's  Charlie Spiering reports that at least seven officials were dispatched Wednesday morning to set up a ring of barricades to block tourists from the memorial. That is two more than the State Department had in Benghazi a year ago on the night of the terrorist attack that killed four, including the U.S. ambassador.

However the World War ll veterans, many of whom arrive at the Memorial on Honor Flights, complimentary flights from across the country paid for by grateful citizens, ignored the Barrycades.  Having endured the horrors of freezing European winters while bombarded by German soldiers or survived the terrors of a Japanese prison camp in their youth, the now 90 year old plus veterans weren't about to surrender to a petty Commander in Chief.   Leo Shane lll of Stars and Stripes describes their brave resistance.

Wheelchair-bound elderly veterans pushed aside barricades to tour the World War II Memorial Tuesday morning, in defiance of the government shutdown which closed all of the memorials in the nation's capital.

The four bus loads of veterans -- visiting from Mississippi as part of a once-in-a-lifetime Honor Flight tour -- ignored National Park Police instructions not to enter the site as lawmakers and tourists cheered them on.

"We didn't come this far not to get in," one veteran proclaimed.

The scene was both emotional and comical at once. After it was clear they had lost control of the situation, Park Police officials stood aside, telling press that they had "asked for guidance on how to respond" to the breach of security.

As 80-something veterans slowly walked around the massive war memorial, Park Police stood quietly to the side, advising other tourists that the site was technically still closed. But they made no moves to stop the wishes of the war heroes.

The Republican National Committee has offered to pay for guarding and protecting the Memorial from the vandalizing senior citizen veterans during the government shut down; the Democrats predictably dismissed this as a publicity stunt.

The RNC said that, "when the House Republicans proposed legislation to keep open the nation's parks and monuments, President Obama promised to veto it." Here is Chairman Priebus' statement from the memorial:

"The Obama administration has decided they want to make the government shutdown as painful as possible, even taking the unnecessary step of keeping the Greatest Generation away from a monument built in their honor," said Chairman Priebus. "That's not right, and it's not fair. So the RNC has put aside enough money to hire five security personnel to keep this memorial open to veterans and visitors. Ideally, I'd hope to hire furloughed employees for this job. "Seeing that the DNC has bragged about fundraising off of the government shutdown, I'd invite my counterpart, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, to join with us in keeping this memorial open. "These brave Americans have sacrificed so much for our country. House Republicans have acted to keep parks and monuments open; Democrats are standing in the way. We want to do what we can, in the face of the intransigence from the White House, to support our veterans. "If the White House complains that such action is not permitted, I'd simply remind them that their unilateral action to give exemptions from Obamacare to big business and their political allies wouldn't seem permissible either. If they can go to such lengths to protect their political interests, surely they can do something to support the interests of those who fought in World War II."

Benefiting from the veterans' sacrifices, another group of people, ostensibly furloughed federal government employees, added to the surreal scene.  Patrick Poole of PJ Tatler discovered some interesting information about these alleged protesters. 

After about an hour, about 20 protesters arrived on the scene chanting "Boehner, get us back to work" and claiming they were federal employees furloughed because of the shutdown.

In the video below these protesters were marching towards the press gaggle and I was asking them to show their federal IDs to prove they were in fact federal workers. No one wore their federal ID and none would provide it to prove their claim

UPDATE: Huffington Post reporter Arthur Delaney states that the protest was organized by a group called "Good Jobs Nation," not SEIU as I previously reported, and that, remarkably, the protesters weren't even federal employees at all but individuals who WORK in federal buildings affected by the shutdown..

Then, remarkably, a guy carrying a sign passed by wearing a McDonald's employee shirt, which I noted. I then began asking them how much they had been paid to protest, at which point the guy wearing the McDonald's shirt came back and admitted he had been paid $15.

About a minute later a protest organizer ran up to me telling me that the man in question is a contractor working at the McDonald's in a Smithsonian Museum -- a claim she made no effort to prove. The same story was told to Jake Tapper at CNN who was on the scene and made the same inquiry.

And yet that doesn't explain why he was paid $15 to attend a protest targeting our nation's honored military veterans.

Hmmm, $15 an hour is well above the minimum wage.  So perhaps the government shut down is helping private businesses. 

As of now, the government remains shut down, many people still can't get the Obamacare they're forced to purchase and yet, somehow, the sun still rose over Washington DC this morning.