World War II Memorial Closure Hits Close to Home — Waylon’s Thoughts
When it was first announced the government could possibly face closing down, many people wondered if there would be any noticeable difference. Regardless of how whimsical one wishes to be about this mess, there is one consequence which crosses the line. World War II Veterans who had already been denied for close to 70 years a memorial to their efforts and sacrifices are now being denied their memorial once again with the government's shutdown of national parks.
Speaking as someone who had three grandparents who served in World War II, none of whom lived long enough to see the World War II Memorial built, it saddens me to see WWII vets once again denied a chance to see the memorial they so very much deserve. With the government shut down, barricades were placed in front of the entrances to the structure. The fountain at the center of the park was shut down as well.
Perhaps the greatest tragedy involves those members who have traveled to the WWII Memorial with Honor Flight. Volunteers have worked for years raising funds and making arrangements to take WWII veterans to the memorial. Over the last few days, these veterans and volunteers have flown to Washington DC only to be turned away at the gates of the memorial.
As a member of Western Slope Honor Flight, it has been my pleasure to participate with five such flights. In each case, the trips to the memorial were rewarding, life changing experiences for the veterans. For some, it brought closure to their experience. For others, a chance to pay tribute to friends they lost during the war.
Having visited the memorial several times, let me assure you, it isn't Disneyland. There aren't any rides which require employees to make certain you are tall enough to get in. It's a park. Granted, someone has to come in and turn on the fountain. From time to time, it would be nice if someone came and did a little sweeping.
If the government can't get it done, call me. I'll fly over there right now and turn the fountain on.