(Washington, D.C.) A day after busloads of World War II veterans, many from Mississippi and in wheelchairs, broke past a barricade to cross into the World War II Memorial, new barriers were put up.
Wednesday, Park Service workers could be seen adding more barrier around the outdoor memorial.
Tuesday, a few Republican members of Congress had removed a section of the black gates that surrounded the site, allowing a line of veterans to roll past security officers, who willingly stood aside.
Veteran Donald Quinn of Pascagoula, Mississippi, said he was pleased with his visit to the memorial, despite the initial blockade.
“I’m surprised to see so many people here and so many important people, but I’ve enjoyed it,” he said. “At first I didn’t think I’d come, but I’m glad I did.”
The National Park Service closed all of its parks, including national memorials, as a result of the federal government shutdown that went into effect at 12:01 a.m ET.
Tuesday, a spokeswoman from the National Mall and Parks Service said efforts were no longer being made to hold anyone back.
“These are important visitors,” Carol Johnson told reporters, adding that they’re seeking guidance from the director’s office on “where we go next.”
“Obviously we did not want to do anything to mar the trip of these people,” she said, saying the visitors came from Mississippi and Iowa. “They’ve come here specifically to see the memorial that was built for them.”
Some Republican members of Congress and a Democratic senator were on site, blasting the federal government for fencing off the memorial. Outraged and baffled, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, crossed through an opening in the railing earlier in the morning–before the breach–and got on the phone to try and reach the secretary of the Department of Interior.
“I don’t get it. I’m furious. I’m trying to get a hold of people,” he said, standing on the other side of the barricade and looking around for help. “But I can’t seem to get a hold of anybody.”