(CNSNews.com) - Government shutdown or not, there's no reason to keep elderly veterans away from the World War II Memorial, says Rep. Louie Gohmer (R-Texas), who was there on Tuesday when a group of 85- to 98-year-olds from entered the barricaded Memorial grounds.
"It is a granite sidewalk -- it's a sidewalk!" Gohmert told Fox News on Wednesday."They (the National Park Service) spent extra money to go find barriers to put up in front of these World War II vets. And I'm wondering what are they going to do next -- hang a drapery over Mt. Rushmore? I mean, this is ridiculous!"
Summoned to the Memorial by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), Gohmert said "a bunch of us showed up and we were out there -- and well, yeah, maybe I was standing at the front -- and we all looked down and magically, the tape was parted and the barriers opened, and here came the bagpipe and the veterans in wheelchairs."
Gohmert questioned what the Obama administration is thinking, to close a memorial "and make these guys suffer."
"It's a sidewalk, leave it open so they can enjoy it."
More veterans are expected at various memorials in Washington on Wednesday, and it's not clear if they'll be admitted or arrested. "But for those of us who voted to create memorials and have oversight over those memorials, we're authorized to go in and inspect them, even when it's a surprise inspection. And so we intend to be there to inspect and to get the people who could do the very best inspection in the world -- and that is the WWII veterans that know all of those inscriptions, know the places..."
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says it's all Republicans' fault.
He tweeted the following on Wednesday: "Thanks to the Republican government shutdown, a group of World War II vets had to break down barricades to visit a memorial in their honor."