A charitable organization, Honor Flight, raises money and recruits volunteers to assist elderly veterans from the Second World War to visit the WWII veterans' memorial in Washington D.C.
The Mississippi Gulf Coast Honor Flight began organizing Tuesday's visit, their sixth trip, in May. Spokesman Wayne Lennep, a volunteer whose regular job is designing electrical systems for Arleigh Burke class destroyers at Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss., said it cost $90,000 and hundreds of hours of planning to get the 91 vets, ages 84 to 99, to Washington.
They planned to eat a picnic lunch at the Air Force Memorial, because they heard the restrooms remained open there, and finish their day by laying a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery.
The WWII Memorial, if you're unfamiliar with it, is on the opposite side of the reflecting pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial. You don't need a key to get in, or a ticket, or a turnstile, because it's outside, in a park-like setting. The park police set up barricades around the memorial to keep people out, because the "government was shut down". Apparently, the only requirement to work in Obama's Interior department or White House is to have all the common sense found in a comatose gerbil. Shutting down the government, especially with a partial shutdown like this one, doesn't mean shutting down the country. (You did get your mail today, didn't you?) These barricades were put up, even though the administration had been informed that 91 elderly WWII vets were flying up from Mississippi to visit the memorial. The amount of Federal money required to make this visit happen, was to have the park police merely step to one side and let them in. In other words, virtually nothing.
And it wasn't just a matter of poor timing on the veterans' part. The prologue to this play, according to Rep. Steven Palazzo, was a request made to both the Department of the Interior and the White House to allow the veterans in. The first act of our play, gives us men who took the beaches at Normandy, who risked their lives far from hearth and home to defeat the Nazi threat, being undeterred by a few sawhorses and barricades. After their perfectly reasonable request had been denied, some principled representatives of the people, Palazzo, Steve King, and others, committed an act of civil disobedience to provide access to the Honor Flight vets.
The Obama administration drew a red line in the sand, not because it was going to cost any money, but because petty, vindictive, and small minded politicians would rather punish people for some perceived political gain than to honor those who risked their lives defending freedom, and some of those brave men don't have that many seasons left to see how their country has seen fit to honor them. The administration spent more money putting up barricades than they would have spent allowing four score and eleven veterans, elderly, some in failing health, to walk around the memorial.
Remember it was Obama who closed the White House to tours of school children, supposedly because of the sequester that he himself authored. Now he tries to deny our elderly and infirm veterans access to an open air memorial. Those who managed to make it there only through the generosity and kindness of strangers. The veterans "stormed" the park in their wheelchairs and walkers, and the park police took no action to eject them, as common sense and common decency would dictate.
Palazzo, a Gulf War Marine veteran who has participated in all five of the Honor Flights, blames the White House for making it harder on veterans and playing politics. “At first I thought it was a huge bureaucratic oversight,” Palazzo told The Daily Caller, “but having talked with the officials I can’t help but think this was politically motivated. Honor Flights, which bring WWII veterans to the nation’s memorials, are planned a year in advance and cost anywhere between $80,000 to $100,000. How low can you get with playing politics over our nation’s veterans?”
But, the story doesn't end there. This morning, Park police on horseback, the kind used for crowd control, showed up at the memorial. For an administration that doesn't have the money to keep an open air park open, they seem to have even more money for mounted patrols! Since then, I'm told, the Park Service has relented and will allow Honor Flights to visit the memorial. I think that the administration calculated that the sight of men on horseback trying to intimidate frail and elderly vets, would not provide the "optic" that Obama desires in his attempts to blame everything on the Republicans.
So we have yet another small victory for America's vets in the twilight of their years. But, what of the rest of America? Those same schoolchildren being banned from White House tours are now being forbidden to stroll through a park and catch a glimpse of what their grandfathers may have fought and died for. Does the lack of a budget mean that barricades must go up around all of America's treasures? Bill Clinton didn't think so! Over at Legal Insurrection, it is noted that during the government shutdown of 1995, Bill Clinton did not barricade the Lincoln Memorial, as B. Hussein Obama has chosen to do.
So why is he doing it? There is a concerted effort by the left, in order to preserve that precursor of Single Payer socialist medicine, Obamacare, at all costs. The Republicans have offered to pay for every other area of government, individually or collectively, only to be rebuffed by the ideologues who refuse to allow Obamacare to even come up for debate, even though Obama himself has changed the law repeatedly (and without Constitutional authority) to try to make it work. Obama likes to sneer at Congress for not doing their job, (well, he sneers at the Republicans. Harry Reid, whose Senate has not passed a budget in five years gets an exemption), but it is the job of Congress to amend the laws, not the president's.
The epilogue will be the backlash and the anger of all those who see through Obama's phony blame game and see just how vindictive he is toward those he himself is holding hostage, attempting to inflict the maximum amount of pain, in order to achieve political gains.
Palazzo asked, "How low can you get with playing politics over our nation’s veterans?" How low? Obama and his cohorts are lower than whale snot. (And twice as slippery!) But, in order to be fair and balanced, I will devote my next post to all of the principled things Obama has done for the good of our country...just as soon as he manages to do one.
Original art work by John Cox
Cross posted at LCR