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November 7, 2013

Letter: Treatment of veterans in shutdown was sickening

To the editor:

As we approach Veterans Day, I am sickened at the way this administration treated veterans during the “government shutdown.”

Citing the government shutdown the World War II Memorial was “closed”. The memorial is a circular plaza where visitors simply walk around to read the tributes to the men who defeated Hitler and Hirohito. No federal employees are needed to access the plaza. Virtually every day members of the “Greatest Generation,” men in their 80s and 90s, arrived to see the monument that recognizes their service. The fact that they were being threatened with arrest was disgusting.

On Oct. 1, a bus load of vets arrived, showing the same spirit they did on the beaches of Normandy but this time with canes and walkers, They “stormed” the plaza. On Oct. 2, another group of veterans were threatened with arrest. But when they arrived they found many sympathizers, including conservative congressmen, standing with them. Park Police officers looked the other way and the vets and their friends flooded into the plaza. Nonetheless, as many as seven National Park employees erected fences to block access by the vets in the afternoon. As one observer noted, this is two more “guards” than our diplomats had in Benghazi.

On Oct. 3, our veterans won another victory: After two days of terrible press coverage, the Obama White House surrendered and would no longer attempt to keep veterans out of the World War II Memorial. Unfortunately, our active duty troops and their families were facing major inconveniences. The Obama administration, which decides what gets closed and what stays open during a government shutdown, closed grocery stores on military bases. But the golf course at Andrews Air Force Base, where Obama frequently plays, did remain open.

When our brave soldiers came back from Vietnam, they were harassed and spat on in the streets. They were called “war criminals” and “baby killers”. Who did that to them? It wasn’t the tea party; it didn’t exist then. It wasn’t conservatives, who honor the service and sacrifice of our troops. It was the left -- radicals like Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, who helped launch Obama’s political career. It was liberal opportunists like our current Secretary of State John Kerry, who accused his fellow countrymen of war crimes during testimony before Congress.

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