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Veterans protest closure of monuments and memorials during shutdown

People rally at the World War II Memorial in Washington Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013. The rally was organized to protest the closure of the Memorial and access to it by World War II veterans who traveled there on Honor Flight visits. The memorial has been closed due to the partial federal government shutdown. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

People rally at the World War II Memorial in Washington Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013. The rally was organized to protest the closure of the Memorial and access to it by World War II veterans who traveled there on Honor Flight visits. The memorial has been closed due to the partial federal government shutdown. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Ernest Adkins left his wife and 4-month-old baby in Blacksburg, Va., on Saturday to drive four hours to Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Army veteran then spent yesterday morning marching through the city, where he wound up standing in front of the White House for three hours, holding a sign over his head that read “Respect our Vets.”

He was one of the hundreds of veterans who descended on Washington for the “Million Vet March on the Memorials.” Frustrated with the government shutdown, protesters tore down barricades from closed monuments and memorials and piled them outside the White House.

It was the latest burst of public outrage over lawmakers’ inability to compromise over the budget, leading to a shutdown that has crippled government services and left tens of thousands of federal employees furloughed.

With a modest disability check that may be cut off within weeks and severe health problems after doing two tours of duty in Iraq, “I don’t know what to do to bring in income,” said Adkins, 32.

The closure of monuments throughout the city has been one of the most visible symbols of the shutdown.

“They are our memorials, and they belong to us,” said Steve Nevels, who drove six hours from West Virginia to participate in the demonstration. Nevels, 39, said he helped take down some of the barricades that were blocking the World War II Memorial, where the group started its march at about 8 a.m.

Protesters then made their way to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial before converging at the White House shortly before noon.

They carried “Impeach Obama” signs and waved yellow “Don’t Tread On Me” American Revolution-era flags before moving on to the U.S. Capitol a few hours later.

The demonstrations were mostly peaceful, with a few short clashes between the police and protesters in front of the White House as officers put up temporary fencing along the sidewalk.

The U.S. Park Police estimated there were 100 to 200 protesters and said there were no arrests.

Michael Ashmore drove 24 hours from Texas for the march. The 24-year-old former Marine served four years in Afghanistan and said his disability benefits stopped about a week ago.

Ashmore said he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and is “living one day at a time” without his disability check.

Politicians, Ashmore said, “just need to get their priorities straight and look out for everybody else instead of themselves.”

About 3 p.m., Adkins prepared to wrap up his protest and head back home to his family.

Holding back tears, he said his household has cut back on expenses, spending money mostly on diapers and formula for his son.

“Stop being petty,” Adkins warned lawmakers. “We’re talking about childish games that are affecting the American people.”

Legacy Comments11

These Republicans are master of the doublethink. Cruz and cohorts shut down the government and then show up with a bunch of rabble-rousers and complain the government is shut down. Cruz will never get close to running for President. These pictures with these signs and confederate flags will be shown over and over again.

Like those "rabble rousers" who showed up to complain that they can't have amnesty as they are illegally here. How many members of Congress showed up and were arrested?? The Democrats and their "cohorts" who want citizenship and contribute little except that they broke the law, trampled on our soveriegnty. Democrats see them as potential future voters though.....they love them for that. Even enough to "rabble rouse" and get arrested.

Your rabble rousers cut government property, advocated revolution and fought with capital police. As I said before, I hope you guys don't change a single thing between now and 2014. The problem is you tea party types talk only to each other and have no clue how you look to the rest of the country.

Sorry Tillie - The out door WWII memorial was built with private donations - the same guys that fought to keep your right to free speech no matter how distorted it is.

I'll just observe that those who complain they can't have amnesty didn't actually create the law that prevents them from having amnesty. The immigration issue is a whole separate post.

Doublethink ? You got that right. Lets not forget the Republicans have continualy voted for increases in spending for pet programs and defense and then reducing the amount of money the goverment collects to pay for it by reducing taxes and then complaining that the defict is rising and blaming the President.

HMMMM....Facts that debunk the above statement - the USA Federal Govt tax revenue this year is at an all time. high.

"it's a buch of team-partiers". Let me ask you a couple of questions. Do people with political views that are ditaametrically opposed to your political views deserve a voice? Is a veteran due to a political opinion that is not in line with what you find acceptable? It doesn't matter if they are a "buch" of tea-partiers or communists, veterans deserve your respect, they sacrificed so that you can have an opinion and express you certain political views here and elsewhere.

Of course they deserve an opinion, and they deserve to express it. I never said they don't, so please don't put words in my mouth or intention in my heart. My comment, if you read it again, is clearly about the overblown nature of the labeling. It's no where close to a "million vet march," and never will be. It seems to me that this event suffered from the same malady that the tea party in general suffers from - believing that they are bigger than they are, that they represent more Americans than they do, and not understanding that their power comes from the monetary backing of a few wealthy individuals, rather than a mandate from the people.

Hundreds showed up for a Million Vet March. Is that a confederate flag I see in that picture? Let's be honest here - it's a buch of tea-partiers who also happen to be vets, right?

typical - the left go full force to demonize and deflect the VET story while absolutely condoning the NEWS that just days before Obama gave a waiver to ILLEGAL ALIENS to hold a rally on the mall.

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