World War II veterans with the Honor Flight program will be allowed to access the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., a spokeswoman for the National Parks Service told TheBlaze Wednesday.
“The NPS has granted veterans access to the World War II memorial as part of a First Amendment activity,” NPS spokeswoman Carol Johnson said, noting the Honor Flights will be allowed to access the grounds each day going forward.
Johnson, however, was unsure if access to other war memorials, such as the Korean War Memorial, would be granted.
On Wednesday, another large wave of veterans defied the shutdown order and stormed the World War II memorial with the help of multiple members of Congress.
“Welcome to your memorial,” Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) said, greeting veterans at the front of the memorial’s only open entrance.
The veterans were visiting the memorial as part of the Honor Flight program which pays for veterans to visit the nation’s capital and see the memorials.
Veterans, speaking with TheBlaze, said they were thrilled to have gained entrance to the grounds.
“It feels great,” Air Force veteran Wendell Sisk said.
“I’m really glad to get in here today. It sounded like there was going to be a problem,” veteran James Walfruf said with visible emotion, adding that he has wanted to visit the memorial since it was first built. “I think it’s pretty sad [it's being barricaded].”
“I was pretty concerned. I’ve had this planned for a long time,” veteran Jack Swager said. “I want to thank them [the members of Congress] for letting us in.”
One World War II veteran said nothing was going to stop him from visiting the memorial.
“No, I don’t think so,” veteran James Platt said, adding he would do “as much as physically able” to see the memorial.
Nonetheless, standing inside the memorial, Sen. Clarie McCaskill (D-Mo.) accused Republican members who didn’t have groups of veterans from their states of using them to score points.
“I think there are some politicians here trying to score political points on the backs of veterans,” McCaskill said. “It’s beyond tacky.”
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) responded to the allegation, “Well in Texas, we used to say the guilty dog usually barks first.”
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Outside the World War II Memorial, some individuals protested its closure.
“Mr. President, Congress tear down this wall!” read one sign.
As veterans left the memorial and headed back to the busses, they walked through a tunnel of applause.
One of the individuals applauding veterans as they returned to the busses said she took time off work to be at the memorial.
“I was worried they weren’t going to be able to get in like they did yesterday,” Laura Morris said. “It just seemed like a fitting day to come down and help.”
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