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WWII Veterans Storm D.C. Memorials in Defiance of Shutdown

Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes

World War II veterans on an Honor Flight from Mississippi pushed their way through barricades to visit Washington, D.C. memorials Tuesday, the first day of the federal government shutdown, according to the Stars and Stripes.

Honor Flights from West Central Florida are scheduled to visit the Washington, D.C. war memorials next week. The West Central Florida veterans are scheduled to visit October 8 and again on October 29. The one-day flights are sometimes the only chance aging veterans have to visit the memorials built to honor their service.

The Honor Flight trips take months to plan and gather donations so that the WWII veterans don't have to pay for their trip. That's one reason for the defiant response from the veterans in their 80s and 90s.

Here's more from the Stars and Stripes:

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.

You can read the full story and view more photographs of the WWII veterans and their escorts on the Stars and Stripes website.

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