Local vets visit war memorials in Washington D.C. despite government shutdown

Raul Sanchez
Thursday, October 3, 2013 - 9:46pm

From Yellowstone, to Gettysburg, to the nation's capital, most national parks and monuments  sit empty as the government shutdown lingers on.

But that didn't stop a group of Borderland veterans from making a special trip to Washington, D.C.

A group of veterans from Southern New Mexico traveled to Washington D.C. on Wednesday as part of an annual trip to tour the different war memorials.

Since the government shutdown has forced the memorials to close, barricades blocked the paths of tourists.

But the veterans from Southern New Mexico marched on.

They were allowed through the barricades and toured most of the war memorials - they weren't able to enter the Lincoln Memorial and other surrounding monuments.

The visits were arranged as part of an "Honor Flight" program.

Veterans were greeted with handshakes and flowers as representatives from the National Park Service moved the barricades.

One vet said his doctor warned him against taking the trip because of health complications but he insisted it was a journey he needed to make.

"Whatever I feel in my body and in my heart goes out to all the people that served in World War I, II, and Korea, and Vietnam. And what they're doing today in the rest of the world, we should thank our military men and women in uniform," said former Korean War veteran, Ruben M. Ramos.

The Southern New Mexico vets were joined by other vets from across the country. The general public was not allowed to visit the memorials. 

The group said they've seen several groups in Washington, D.C. protesting the government shutdown. Some held signs that read "Our vets did their job now Congress needs to do theirs."

The vets return home on Thursday.

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