Several thousand veterans, tea party activists and truckers began a demonstration early Sunday morning at the World War II Memorial in Washington.
It was part of the “Million Vet March on the Memorials,” a grassroots movement started less than two weeks ago by a small group of military brats. The “march” took place at war memorials across the nation.
Headlining the hastily assembled rally at the World War II Memorial in Washington D.C., was the former Alaska governor Sarah Palin. She was accompanied by Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Utah Senator Mike Lee, Texas Rep. Steve Stockman, and Rep. Kerry Bentivolio of Michigan.
Rain poured as those assembled sang patriotic songs, such as God Bless America and the National Anthem. Governor Palin passed out flags to the veterans as the list of grievances were aired about Washington monuments and memorials that were closed during the current budget shutdown that have never been closed in past government shutdowns.
As the rally began, the barricades that had closed the memorial honoring the sacrifices of the most American war dead were quickly taken down by the assembled masses. Some walked and brought bullhorns, and others arriving by truck blew their horns very loudly. As the morning grew later, the Metropolitan Police Department stepped in and closed down 17th street to vehicular traffic.
NewsBlaze was able to catch the reaction of one US Park Policeman who said to the arriving demonstrators “Thank you” and that seemed to be the reaction of the assembled law enforcement even as the demonstration continued a half mile away.
Members of the crowd told NewsBlaze that Michigan Rep. Kerry Bentivolio personally walked up the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and talked to Law Enforcement as activists were opening the barriers. Bentivolio offered himself up for arrest if he and the activists were not permitted to see the monument honoring the nation’s 16th President.
Bentivolio also stayed and took fire from supporters who appeared to be taking heat from activists who thought he took too much personal credit for opening the memorial, and also from people who were feeling economic heat back home while members of congress were getting paid.
The day was not without incident. There was one arrest by the park police of a male who displayed a pocketknife improperly at the now open Lincoln Memorial. People in the crowd voiced skepticism that the arrest was improper in some way. Shortly thereafter the Park Police’s mounted unit which had gathered on the south face departed peacefully, as the monument continued to remain open.
The people are not happy. Something has changed about the attitude of The President and The Politicians. Participants said they had been through a previous shutdown, and the government didn’t shut down the people’s property. This time the government is making things appear worse than they really are, by forcibly adding pain to the people.
Speaking near the memorial, people said they are “hopping mad about the shutdown, and shutting the memorials is the last straw.” Someone else said “It isn’t legitimate to close the memorials – they weren’t closed in the previous shutdown,” and “The administration is deliberately trying to make things worse than they really are. The blame for this lies with the president, Barack Obama.”