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Vets Rally to Re-Open Memorials

Reported by: Melanie Kendall
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Updated: 10/13/2013 11:33 pm

A heated protest on the government shutdown Sunday in Washington, D.C. as veterans took down barricades around the World War II Memorial and faced police in riot gear.

Protesters also took barricades from the Lincoln Memorial and dumped them in the front of the north lawn of the White House.  The group included tea party supporters. 

Protesters are upset about the closing of the memorials under the government shutdown.

A group of World War II veterans from Mississippi were nearly denied their visit to the memorial October 1st because of the government shutdown.  That memorial has now become a symbol for all closed national parks and memorials.

Veterans here in Kentucky are also speaking out about the closing of national memorials and are rallying to send a message to Uncle Sam.  Those who couldn’t make it to the Million Vet March on the Memorials in Washington, D.C. gathered at the KY Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Frankfort.

“These memorials should never be closed, they should be open all the time and there's no political reason to ever close these down,” said Chris Kelsker who supports the memorials reopening.

The rally in Frankfurt was more peaceful than the one in D.C.  Veterans shared their stories and supporters got a lesson in the history of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Veterans say many memorials are normally open 24-hours a day, seven days a week without staff to guard them under normal circumstances.  They say more money is being spent to keep people out than if the memorials had just stayed opened.

“They don't realize what's happening with all these memorials and different parks and things like that that are being closed down and barricaded off just to make people feel the pain,” said Kelsker.

Veterans with the Million Vet March on the Memorials plan to go to Congress after the budget crisis and ask for a bill that would prevent closing memorials down to any American, except for maintenance purposes.

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