News / USA

Vets Let Into World War II Memorial; First Amendment Cited

Jeff Morgan (L) and his father, World War II Marine veteran Eugene Morgan, both of Collierville, Tennessee, arrive to visit the World War II Memorial in Washington, Oct. 2, 2013.
Jeff Morgan (L) and his father, World War II Marine veteran Eugene Morgan, both of Collierville, Tennessee, arrive to visit the World War II Memorial in Washington, Oct. 2, 2013.
Reuters
The National Park Service gave elderly veterans access on Wednesday to the barricaded National World War II Memorial, the site of a skirmish in the partisan war over the U.S. government shutdown.

Veterans will be allowed into the memorial under the Constitution's First Amendment, which includes the right to free speech and assembly, said National Park Service spokeswoman Karen Cucurullo.

“It's allowed by law,” she said, adding that a handful of other sites also were open as a “First Amendment demonstration.”

World War II veterans, many in wheelchairs, and up to a dozen Republican lawmakers pushed open barricades on Tuesday to get into the 7.4-acre memorial on the National Mall.

The Mall had been shuttered under the federal government shutdown that started on Tuesday after Democrats refused to go along with Republican restrictions on President Barack Obama's healthcare program as a condition of funding the government.

The veterans had long been scheduled to visit, and Republican lawmakers denounced the Obama administration's closure of the site, saying it was an insult to veterans.

The National Park Service opened the site on Wednesday to a total of about 500 veterans from Chicago and Missouri. They were visiting under the non-profit Honor Flight program that helps veterans visit Washington memorials.

Tourists also were let in, but once the veterans left the barricades went back up. A handful of lawmakers, mostly Republicans, were there to greet veterans.

“We were about to think we weren't going to get in,” said Frank Hanter, an 89-year-old veteran from Missouri, who was stationed in the Philippines during World War II.

When asked how he felt about being greeted by lawmakers, he said it was “nice, but they probably ought to be working.”

Adding to the partisan wrangling, the Republican National Committee offered to pay to keep the monument open. The Democratic National Committee shot back, calling the offer a "silly stunt."

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid