A crowd converged on the World War II Memorial on the National Mall on Sunday, pushing past barriers to protest the memorial’s closing under the government shutdown.
Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah, along with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, were part of the demonstrators.
AP Photo: Alex Brandon
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks at a rally in front of the World War II Memorial on Sunday, Oct. 13, in Washington.
Cruz and Lee are among the tea party-backed lawmakers who refused to keep the government operating unless President Barack Obama agreed to defund the nation’s health care overhaul.
“Let me ask a simple question,” Cruz told the crowd of hundreds that gathered beginning at 9 a.m. “Why is the federal government spending money to erect barricades to keep veterans out of this memorial?”
Black metal barricades have lined the front of the memorial since the government closed Oct. 1. That’s when more than 300 National Park Service workers who staff and maintain the National Mall were furloughed.
As the crowd entered the memorial plaza, they chanted “Tear down these walls” and “You work for us.” They sang “God bless America” and other songs.
“Our vets have proven that they have not been timid, so we will not be timid in calling out any who would use our military, our vets, as pawns in a political game,” Palin told the crowd.