US military war veterans visit the World War II Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC, on October 1, 2013. The US Park Service opened the area to the veterans who are brought to Washington to visit and reflect at their memorials. Top through the efforts of Honor Flight, a non-profit organization created solely to honor America's veterans for all their sacrifices. The US government shut down Tuesday for the first time in 17 years after a gridlocked Congress failed to reach a federal bud
WASHINGTON (AP) - A crowd converged on the World War II Memorial on the National Mall, pushing through barriers Sunday morning to protest the memorial's closing under the government shutdown.
Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas were among those who gathered Sunday morning, along with former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, according to WTOP radio. Cruz said President Obama is using veterans as pawns in the shutdown.
"Tear down these walls," the crowd chanted. Protesters also sang God Bless America and other patriotic songs as they entered the memorial plaza.
The memorial has become a political symbol in the bitter fight between Democrats and Republicans over who is at fault since the shutdown began. Earlier rallies have focused on allowing access for World War II veterans visiting from across the country with the Honor Flight Network.
Sunday's rally was more political. A protest by truckers converged with a rally by a group called the Million Vet March at the World War II Memorial. Participants cut the links between metal barriers at the National Park Service site and pushed them aside.