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A crowd has converged on the World War II Memorial on the National Mall, pushing through barriers to protest the memorial's closing under the government shutdown.
WTOP Radio reports that Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas were among those who gathered Sunday morning, along with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Cruz says President Barack Obama is using veterans as pawns in the shutdown.
The memorial has become a symbol of the bitter fight between Democrats and Republicans over who is at fault since the shutdown began.
On Sunday morning, a protest by truckers converged with a veterans march at the World War II Memorial. Participants cut the links between metal barriers at the National Park Service property and pushed them aside.
In Columbus on Sunday, a small group of veterans waved signs and flags outside of Veterans Memorial in Downtown Columbus.
They also were protesting the closing of national war memorials across the country because of the government shutdown.
“The closing of our veteran war memorials is despicable and should not be taking place,” said Mike Lynch, a veteran from Dayton who traveled to Columbus on Sunday. “We’ve had honor flight veterans, 80-90-year-old men who have been turned away from seeing their memorials, probably the only time in their life they will be able to at their age. We need to open these memorials back up.”
The veterans are calling on the White House to issue an executive order to reopen the national war memorials.