Americans are tired of the ways of Washington. The shutdown of the federal government on October 1 and the barricading of the monuments on the Mall were the final straw for thousands of military veterans who marched on Washington on October 13. Thousands of veterans and their family members and friends joined with Senators Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Sarah Palin to protest the decision by the Obama administration to close the public memorials.
Protesting veterans arrived early to tear down the barricades – nicknamed BarryCades – and open the popular attractions for thousands of visitors. The military personnel and veterans are upset with the government for using the military and veterans for political gain. According to the Million Vet March on the Memorials web site: “We are all military brats, current and former military spouses and some veterans. We cannot express how utterly disappointed we were that our Greatest Generation were being used as political pawns in the ongoing government shutdown and budget crisis. This should never be the case.
“We do not care what political leanings you may be, be it liberal, conservative, Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Independent or whatever. The actions of the U.S. government this week with regard to barricading and shutting down the World War II Memorial to veterans that may or may not be on their last trip to Washington, D.C., is a despicable act of cowardice.”
The veterans tore down the barricades and either stacked them neatly or moved them to the White House. The government responded with armored vehicles, police on horses, police in riot gear, and helicopters buzzing overhead. Facebook user Paul Longenecker used photographs to capture the confrontations.
The veterans group was not the only group to converge on Washington in protest to governmental actions. Truckers planned to clog the streets of Washington to show their opposition to the way the Obama administration is treating the Constitution.
So far, the protests have been peaceful with few if any arrests. Time alone will tell what effect they have on the government, but the simple act of doing something may help dissipate the anger felt by many Americans.