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

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that was eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports on how one band is bringing Yiddish tango to Los Angeles.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid