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Veterans have rallied against the federal government’s actions in Washington several times lately, including over the weekend when they carried barricades – some called them “barrycades” – over to the White House lawn where they dumped them.
So have bikers.
So have truckers.
But now, according to a report in the Army Times, a group representing about 5.5 million Americans – service members, veterans, retirees and their families – will be rallying on Tuesday.
It will happen, again, at the World War II Memorial, where members of Congress in recent days have helped take down barricades erected by the National Park Service to keep military veterans away from the open-air memorial that is in their honor.
The Army Times report said the rally will be “aimed at embarrassing Congress and the White House into action.”
It cites plans by the Military Coalition, which includes 33 different military and veterans organizations, to have a rally and news conference to call on Congress and the White House to make the decisions needed to get the government going.
Parts of the federal government have been shut down since the first of the month because of a disagreement over the funding for the operations. President Obama has refused to negotiate over several compromises proposed by House Republicans.
And now the looming debt ceiling deadline is approaching this week.
“The shutdown has been devastating for the nation’s military readiness and for the veterans, service members, families and survivors in the uniformed services community,” the coalition said the the Times report.
“Veterans who receive disability and GI Bill benefits and survivors who rely on survivor benefits don’t know if they’ll get their next check,” the statement said. “National Guard and reserve monthly training has been canceled, affecting critical troop readiness and pay. Many services that military families count on daily are suspended. Veterans make up 27 percent of the federal workforce and don’t know when they will get to go back to work. The 435,000 veterans in the VA disability claims backlog have to wait even longer.”
Among the groups sending representatives will be the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and the National Military Family Association.
The memorial in Washington was the scene of fireworks over the weekend, when thousands of Americans stormed into the nation’s capital and tore down barricades blocking the World War II Memorial Sunday.
“Barrycades are down,” tweeted Sherry Lucas, a reference to President Barack Obama’s childhood nickname of Barry.
Many of the barricades were then hand-carried by the protesters and dumped in front of the White House.
This weekend has seen the convergence of U.S. veterans and truckers on the nation’s capital, as many protest the closure of public memorials as well as the president’s policies.
Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, addressed the crowd at 9:30 a.m. and were later joined by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
The Million Vet March website indicates, "The actions of the U.S. government this week with regard to barricading and shutting down the World War II Memorial to veterans, that may or may not be on their last trip to Washington D.C., is a despicable act of cowardice.
"Veterans this week were unwillingly pitted as pawns in this crisis. We feel that this should never be the case. This is why we will go to Congress after the budget crisis and ask for a bill to be introduced that would prevent any member of the government from closing our memorials down to any American, except for maintenance purposes.
"Many in our group have decided that enough is enough. We are Americans. We are proud of our heritage and our service. As all of us were military brats and spouses, we have served in some form or another our entire lives. This is our way of life. We will not stand by and let the U.S. government dishonor the legacy of sacrifice of the generations before us."
Sunday's crowd chanted, "Tear down these walls!" and belted out "God Bless America" and other patriotic songs.
Video shows riot police showing up with batons at a peaceful protest outside the White House:
According to WTOP-TV, "Tractor-trailers headed down 17th Street toward the Mall, blaring their horns. The Metropolitan Police Department blocked off the street, prompting the crowd to head up the street, shouting at the police to move their vehicles. ...
"By 11 a.m., the group had headed back to the memorial, and dozens congregated around World War II veterans, shaking their hands and thanking them for their service."
Comments from participants and readers are now being posted in many online forums, with remarks including:
- "Wow, finally the 'real' Americans show up in D.C.! Reid and Obama: You can't call on the SEALs because the SEALs are ALREADY there!"
- "God bless our veterans! Too bad they didn't drag President Mooslim out of his hiding place."
- "These are privately funded monuments, and they belong to the citizens of this country, especially to those who fought, died and came home torn inside out. Back off, demonic Democrats. You are picking on the wrong people, but we clearly see who's side you are really on, and it is NOT on the side of Americans."
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