UPDATED: "Million" vets are in DC to demand their monuments be opened

The Million Vet March has begun in Washington DC to demand that veterans have open access to the memorials created to honor them. Photo: Veterans protest

WASINGTON, October 13, 2013 – UPDATED: Thousands of protesters have arrived at the World War II memorial this morning to protest the closure of the memorials during the government shut down. 

The protestors have removed the barriers and have entered the monument.

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Senators Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) as well as former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin were among the crowd that chanted “Tear down these walls” and sang patriotic songs as the barriers were removed according to local news coverage from WTOP.

About 15 tractor trailer trucks from the Ride for the Constitution protest, which took place two days ago but mostly turned out to be a non-event, have arrived at the memorial protest to lend their support to the veterans.

The truckers came down 17th Street honking their horns while heading toward the Mall. Their forward progress was blocked by police barricades.

Although some people have remained around the World War II memorial, thanking veterans for their service, others have moved the protest to additional parts of D.C.

SEE RELATED: King Memorial is not the only controversial monument to come to D.C.

CNN reports some of the protestors have made their way to the White House where they threw barricades aside and got into some pushing and shoving with the police on duty.

The police were able to reassemble the barricades and push the protestors back away from the White House gates.

Some of the veterans are directing the assembled group to the Capitol building to continue the protest.

U.S. Park police are reporting that at least one person has been arrested but no further information was immediately available.

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WASHINGTON, October 7, 2013 — A march is coming to Washington this weekend that might make the lawmakers on both sides of the aisle take notice and rethink all of the political grandstanding in order to gain campaign contributions for themselves and their party, which is hurting real Americans.

On Sunday October 13, 2013 the Million Vet March is going to take place at 9 a.m. at the World War II Memorial.

The protest has been organized by individuals with various connections to the military, either as children of veterans, spouses of veterans or those who have served themselves, who are outraged and deeply disappointed that individuals who have served in the military have been blocked from the memorials honoring their service across the country. They are most concerned about blocking access to monuments in the nation’s capital, Washington D.C.

According to the Million Vet March website, the organizers are not concerned about what anyone’s political leaning are, be they Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative. If anyone who saw the World War II veterans barricaded from their memorial this past week felt outraged, they want them to join their protest.

The organizers believe the veterans are being used as pawns that have unwittingly found themselves in the middle of a political battle, and according to the organizers’ statement, that should never happen.

Daniel L. Kaifetz, executive director of North Country Honor Flight, has reached out to the Million Vet March organizers because five Honor Flights are planned to visit Washington D.C. on October 12, 2013.

Kaifetz explained these Honor Flights have been granted a “first amendment permit” to access the World War II memorial, but they are still blocked from the Iwo Jima Monument which is a stop that the Honor Flights almost always make.

Kaifetz is hoping for a large presence of veterans and supporters to be at the Iwo Jima Monument on Saturday to assist the World War II Marine Corps heroes to gain access to their memorial.

Honor Flights is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to bringing veterans of wars to see their memorials in Washington D.C. at no cost to the service member.

These flights were started after it took almost 60 years after World War II to complete the memorial to honor that war. Supporters realized many of those who were being honored would never get a chance to see the monument erected to thank them.

Honor flights focus on World War II veterans and veterans of other wars who are battling a terminal illness.

The flights arrive at one of the Washington D.C. area airports, National AirportDulles Airport or BWI Airport on a variety of airlines. Southwest Airline is the official airline of the Honor Flight organization.

American Legion Unit 180 in ViennaVirginia organizes the Heroes Welcome project so that when the veterans disembark, they are greeted by a cheering crowd.

The Million Vet March’s Facebook event page has over 23,000 “likes” and states that almost 2,000 individuals have committed to attending.

The March also has organized a petition to ask that the memorials be opened, which has received 3,254 signatures at the time of this writing. The petition states that veterans should never need to storm their own memorials and are asking not only for the immediate opening but also for legislation so that these monuments can never be closed again.

Rallies are being organized in each state for those who are unable to travel toWashington D.C. but who still want to show their support for the veterans.

The Million Vet March will be joining the previously planned Truckers Ride for the Constitution protest on the same weekend.

The trucker protest was organized after the 9/11 Two Million Bikers Rally. The truckers say that they are coming into Washington D.C. to protest the corruption of the government and to participate in a strike as part of the protest by not hauling freight during the days of October 11 – 13.

If enough truckers converge on the streets of Washington D.C., there is no doubt that they will truly shut the city down.

It is unclear how many truckers have committed to attending the strike/ rally inWashington D.C. this weekend but the Facebook event page currently has accumulated 46,427 “likes.”

Anyone who is planning on entering the district this weekend to lend their support to these protests should plan on taking the Metro in and out of the city. It is also recommended to buy metro tickets beforehand either at a station or online as some believe that when rallies became too large in the past, metro ticket machines were shut down.


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Susan L Ruth

Susan L. Ruth is a long-time Washington, DC resident with extensive ties throughout the community.  She is a genealogical researcher and writer, and is an active volunteer in the Northern Virginia competitive swimming community.  Susan previously worked providing life-skills to head injured adults. 

Susan and her husband Kerry currently live in Northern Virginia with their three sons, Ryley, Casey and Jack and their American Bulldog, Leila.


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