Palazzo: "No Justification for Shutting Out Our Veterans"
Lawmaker Seeks Memorial Access for World War II Veterans After Park Service Threatens to Shut Out
Washington, DC- Congressman Steven Palazzo (MS-4) today sent a letter to President Obama requesting that the Administration not restrict access to World War II veterans traveling to Washington as part of Honor Flight visits this week. The National Park Service (NPS) confirmed earlier today that in the event of a government closure, it would go to extra lengths to barricade the open-air monuments and memorials on the National Mall, including the World War II Memorial. Palazzo also released the following statement.
“I don’t know if this is a political ploy or a bureaucratic oversight, but even in the event of a government closure, there is absolutely no justification for shutting out our veterans from their Memorial. This is an open-air memorial that the public has 24/7 access to under normal circumstances --- even when Park Service personnel aren’t present. It actually requires more effort and expense to shut out these veterans from their Memorial than it would to simply let them through. My office has been in touch with NPS officials and the Administration to try to resolve this issue. Mississippi veterans are still planning to travel to Washington tomorrow to see their Memorial, and I still plan to be there to greet them. I’m going to do everything in my power to ensure these World War II veterans have access to their Memorial.”
Despite the National Park Service’s plans, the Mississippi Gulf Coast Honor Flight still intends to bring more than 90 World War II veterans to Washington on Tuesday. The veterans range in age from 84 to 98, and for most this will be their only opportunity to visit their Memorial. In addition to the Mississippi flight, Honor Flights from ten other states are scheduled to visit the World War II Memorial this week.
Palazzo observed the effects that shutting out veterans would have in his letter to President Obama, stating:
“It would truly be devastating to our veterans that travel great lengths to share this experience with family and friends and see a piece of their own history.