They fought a war and flew in at dawn from Mississippi, so a few barricades provoked little more than shrugs from the 91 World War II veterans who crossed political lines Tuesday to walk and wheel around their memorial on the historic National Mall.
The vets in three buses pulled up to the Memorial at 11:20 a.m. ET and were greeted by a group of congressmen who said they were determined to ensure the vets from the Mississippi Gulf Coast Honor Flight would have the full experience of the monument.
With the vets in their red shirts and medal-bedecked caps lined up at the barricades, the congressmen, led by Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-Miss., moved aside the barriers and escorted the vets into the memorial and past signs that read: Because of federal government shutdown, all national parks and memorials are closed.
The vets, led by a volunteer bagpiper Bill Greener of the D.C Fire Department who played patriotic songs, strolled around the memorial and posed for photos as U.S. Park Police and Park Service rangers looked on.