A group of veterans walked past barriers at the closed World War II memorial Tuesday with help from members of Congress.
Hundreds of veterans arrived for a previously scheduled visit to the memorial Tuesday morning to find it barricaded by the National Park Service. Members of Congress, including Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, went to the site after receiving panicked emails and cut police tape to let in the veterans from Iowa and Mississippi.
Bachman says it was "pure joy" when the veterans were allowed in because they had traveled so far. She says members of Congress plan to continue coming down to the memorial to ensure veterans can visit.
Park spokeswoman Carol Johnson says the service didn't want to keep veterans out, but the agency was directed to close all memorials.
Veteran's traveling with Honor Flight Austin recently returned from a trip from September 27-28. The next scheduled flight in Oct. 11.
A member of the Honor Flight Network also confirmed at least one group was able to see the memorial Wednesday.
Reince Priebus, Republican National Committee chairman, said Wednesday the RNC is willing pay to keep the memorial open for 30 days.
"The RNC has put aside enough money to hire five security personnel to keep this memorial open to veterans and visitors for the next 30 days," Priebus said in a press release. "Ideally, I’d hope to hire furloughed employees for this job."
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