Opinion

Barriers move for vets at memorials, but outrage remains

Politics is clashing with the past on the National Mall in Washington, as the government shutdown turns the World War II memorial into a flashpoint for debate over respect for the nation’s veterans and the Obama administration’s pique.

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The Honor Flight Network, a national organization, flies World War II veterans from around the country to the nation’s capital to see the monument built in their honor.

Beverly Perlman, the mother of an army sergeant and founder of the Band of Mothers, a support group for military families, was in Washington for an Honor Flight trip by veterans from Central and West Florida. Included are excerpts of an “After Action Report” she wrote. The group’s website is thebandofmothers.com.

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Veterans at the memorial talked about how unified the country was in a time of national crisis — a real national crisis. The contrast with the current political rancor came through loud and clear, but Perlman found reason to hope. In her report, she wrote:

‘We were all in this together and the women were greater than the men, working in the factories and supporting us any way they could,’ was what one warrior told me. Many of these heroes got choked up and said they never ever had so many Americans coming up to them and thanking them.  Some of them expressed anger and disappointment about the barricades but they said that all the people thanking them made up for it.  One veteran told me that he was so disappointed at the attitude of the young people coming up today because they are taking their precious freedom for granted.  This hero had a young man chaperoning him that said the kids at his school really don’t even know nor do they care who is in their government or how it works.  He had plans to attend an ROTC program next year.

The memorials are closed to the general public, of course, but Perlman reports she found numerous men who put aside their “official duty” for their duty to their countrymen.

Perlman wrote:

I met policemen and park rangers who moved barricades and welcomed our heroes into THEIR Memorials.  I met a wonderful and kind policeman who shared his outrage with me regarding these barricades and he was going to turn his back while I moved a barricade to let these heroes into THEIR Memorials! … This same policeman let a Japanese tourist group into that memorial because they had come to pay their respects to our WWII Heroes who they credit for the freedoms they enjoy to this day!  I met another  Japanese couple at the Air Force Memorial who told me they were there to pay their respects and show their gratefulness to the American Heroes who truly saved them! I saw a Park Ranger who moved a barricade and shook the hand of every veteran and welcomed them into THEIR memorial.

As veterans and their chaperones made the most of the opportunities, the old servicemen mingled with the men and women who are now wearing the uniform. But not all of the mingling was cheerful, Perlman wrote.

At the WWII Memorial, nobody paid any attention to a barricade and our veterans went all through the memorial. I was fortunate to speak to an active duty Army Ranger and he was worried and concerned regarding all the classified information being released from this administration. He shared with me that it was a very hard time to be in the military. I promised him that I would do everything I could to affect change in the next election to throw out the Democrats who were making it so very hard for him and his Brothers. He told me “it sure doesn’t seem they give a damn about us”. He thanked me and said he’d appreciate that. I apologized too that we didn’t succeed in getting him a new commander-in-chief last November.

Perlman wrote that the vets and their chaperones could clearly hear the noise from a pro-immigration rally on the other side of the mall – a rally that was taking place on property that was technically closed because of the government shutdown, but allowed to go on by an administration sympathetic to liberal immigration policies from a party courting Hispanic voters.

At the WWII memorial, we could hear the drums banging over at the SEIU AFL-CIO Nancy Pelosi immigration rally where there were NO barricades at all.  Some of the veterans expressed anger over that and especially that the people over there were illegal and they were welcomed in, yet barricades were put up to keep our veterans out of THEIR Memorials!

I was told there were 30 Democrats at that Immigration rally and we need to find out who they are and we need to send them home in the next election!!!

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