Busloads of World War II veterans broke into the barricaded World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Tuesday, after the National Park Service closed all of its national memorials due to the federal government shutdown.
A bagpiper led the way for dozens of veterans, many in wheelchairs, as dozens of onlookers cheered, CNN reported.
A spokeswoman from the National Mall and Parks Service said security officers were standing back and allowing veterans to visit the memorial.
Rep. Michele Bachmann told CNN that she was outside walking when she heard about the pile-up at the memorial and decided to see what was going on.
“Who’s going to say no to a World War II veteran? I certainly wouldn’t,” she said. “America is not shutting down.”
The veterans were part of the nonprofit Honor Flight Network. They had chartered an $80,000 airplane, and their plans were too far advanced to postpone, said Wayne Lennep, spokesman for the Mississippi Gulf Coast honor flights, The Washington Post reported. U.S. Park Police allowed the bus to stop.
“I’m not going to enforce the no stopping or standing sign for a group of 90 World War II veterans,” an officer said. “I’m a veteran myself. ”
The National Mall and Parks spokeswoman said the memorial hosts Honor Flight visitors every day.
“We want to make sure that they have a good time and are enjoying the memorial, but legally, the National Mall and the memorial are closed,” she said.