(Update, Wednesday: After realizing the veterans were going to keep coming, the Park Service figured a legal way around the shutdown rules which let's them through.)
Original: A group of World War II veterans aren't letting a pesky government shutdown stop them from visiting a Washington, D.C. memorial. These are your first, and probably only, bad-ass heroes of the government shutdown.
The government shutdown is stupid: some Republicans want to repeal Obamacare, after the Supreme Court deemed it legal and their losing presidential candidate campaigned to overturn it, and their hopeless fight has shut down the government for the foreseeable future. As a result, all national parks and open air memorials are closed across the country. One of the more depressing casualties of the shutdown: a group of 91 veterans who travelled on an Honor Flight from Mississippi might be locked out from a scheduled memorial visit Tuesday morning.
The chance that they might miss out on their visit because of political gridlock was sad, depressing news. "It actually requires more effort and expense to shut out these veterans from their memorial than it would to simply let them through," Rep. Steven Palazzo conceded on Monday.
But did these veterans let the shutdown stop them? No, no they did not.
Stars and Stripes reporter Leo Shane III was on scene when these veterans rebelled:
It's hard not to love this story. McShane reports the vets now "have control" of the memorial and don't seem keen to leave. They also didn't get past the guards without a little help. Apparently Rep. Steve King helped distract a park police officer while the vets tore down the fences keeping them from their memorial visit.
To the surprise of exactly no one, these Mississippi vets have quickly become the feel-good story of the shutdown:
It's now a party down there, with Iowa veterans joining in on the fun. Shane reports park police have completely given up trying to keep people out of the memorial.
Update, 12:35 p.m. OK, so apparently the place isn't open. The few park police on scene just have no idea what to do with a bunch of veterans who disobeyed their orders (with help of Palazzo.) "We're seeking guidance on how to respond," a guard told Shane. For now they're standing around, watching the proceedings and enjoying some small talk. Michele Bachman is already using the opportunity to make some promises she can't keep:
Update, 2:57 p.m. Via HyperVocal, ABC’s Jack Date reports the memorial will be closed this afternoon and all remaining Honor Flights scheduled hoping to visit the memorial this month will be out of luck:
The memorial will be re-closed this afternoon and remain closed until funding is restored. National Mall and Memorial Parks Communications Officer Carol Johnson tells ABC News the memorial will be shut down and cleared by Park Police. Honor Flights scheduled for the month of October have been notified that the memorial will be closed until the Federal Government re-opens. A group of 100 veterans were expected to arrive from Chicago tomorrow.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.