The U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources chaired by Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) issued a statement questioning decisions by the Obama administration on closing national parks. The statement asked why parks were closed for World War II veterans, pointing out a park was left open for the “Occupy Movement Camp.”
Users from both sides of the aisle had questioned the closing of the World War II Memorial—visitors to Washington know that park has always been open 24/7.
The administration had permitted protesters in the Occupy movement to camp at another park, McPherson Square, for months before the groups were finally evicted. The Washington Post reported at least $7,000 in damages from the mostly young crowd participating in Occupy. Uncontrolled camping in the park was against regulations. The cleanup crew had to wear haz-mat suits.
The administration didn’t just close the WWII Memorial—barricades were actually erected, leading some on the Web to sarcastically call them “Barry-cades.”
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) called attention to the memorial closing on Twitter.
Many veterans get to see the nation’s capital via Honor Flight, a service that began in 2005 according to the group’s website:
The inaugural Honor Flight Tour took place in May of 2005. Six small planes flew out of Springfield, Ohio taking twelve World War II veterans on a visit to the memorial in Washington, DC…The Honor Flight Network program was conceived by Earl Morse, a physician assistant and Retired Air Force Captain. Earl wanted to honor the veterans he had taken care of for the past 27 years.
Annoyance about closing the memorial to the vets drew criticism on social media from self-described “progressives”, Republicans, and libertarians who viewed it as a purely political move since the park is normally open around the clock, always without barricades.
In a move at odds with President Barack Obama’s highly touted edge on technology, the National Parks Service even closed static pages on its website, raising more questions since static pages normally don’t require constant maintenance. A notice on the NPS website said:
“Because of the federal government shutdown, all national parks are closed and National Park Service webpages are not operating. For more information, go to www.doi.gov.”
Some Web users might question barring access to static pages on government sites not related to national security, if for no other reason than the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as well as the proprietary nature of U.S. taxpayer funded information and media.
The Honor Flights website, not affiliated with the U.S. government, said, “According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, an estimated 640 WWII veterans die each day.”
(Filed by Kay B. Day/Oct. 3, 2013)