Veterans, Protestors at ‘Shutdown’ WWII Memorial: ‘Tear Down This Wall!’

By Michael W. Chapman | October 2, 2013 | 2:14 PM EDT

A man holds a sign at the "shutdown" WWII Memorial on Wednesday that says, "Mr. President/Congress, Tear Down This Wall!" (Photo: Fox News)

( --  Veterans from World War II, many in their 80s and 90s now, ignored the government “shutdown,” swept past the barricades and police tape, and visited the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. for the second day in a row on Wednesday, and at least one attendee held a sign that called on President Barack Obama and Congress to “Tear Down this Wall!”

That phrase was made famous by President Ronald Reagan in June 1987, when he challenged then-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall that separated East Germany from West Germany, a 96-mile-long barrier that literally represented Communist tyranny.

In that June 12, 1987 speech, the conservative Reagan, at the Brandenberg Gate in Berlin, said, “[W]e believe that freedom and security go together, that the advance of human liberty can only strengthen the cause of world peace. There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace. General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization, come here to this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

Two years later, the people of Germany took sledge hammers and chisels and tore the wall down.  Soviet communism collapsed in 1991.

Because of the government shutdown, the federal parks, museums, and memorial sites are closed.  The World War II Memorial is located in Washington, D.C. on 17th Street, not far from the Washington Monument.

A sign on a barricade surrounding the WWII Memorial, which reads, "Because of the Federal Government SHUTDOWN, All National Parks are CLOSED." Veterans and some members of Congress ignored the signs and the barricades and visited the Memorial on Oct. 1 and 2, 2013. (AP)

Although the WWII Memorial is technically closed, veterans flown in on previously scheduled trips to visit the Memorial went past the barricades and yellow police tape on Monday and viewed the site. A second group of veterans also ignored the barricades and “shutdown” signs on Tuesday and visited the memorial.  Several Republican congressmen joined the veterans in touring the Memorial on both days.

On Tuesday, as reported by Fox, the veterans, from Ohio, Kansas, and Missouri, moved the barricades. The National Park Police, while present, did not stop the veterans, many of whom fought against the Nazis in Europe and/or the Imperial Japanese in the Pacific.

At least one person at the Memorial on Tuesday was holding a sign that read, “Mr. President/Congress, Tear Down This Wall!”  The photo of the man with the sign was taken by Fox News.

Michael W. Chapman
Michael W. Chapman
Michael W. Chapman

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