Veterans on Honor Flight not met by barricades at WWII Memorial

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A government shutdown didn't stop some Kansas City veterans from boarding planes to Washington D.C. bound for their World War II Memorial.

The National World War II Memorial is the main event for many of the veterans who go on the Honor Flight. Since the National Park Service runs the memorials, they are all closed during the shutdown, and on Tuesday barricades were put up to keep people out. But almost 200 veterans and guardians coming from KC to Washington D.C. said no barricade could keep them away from their memorial.

"We go to all this trouble to make the trip, I'm sure they'll figure out a way to let us in," said Ian Drake, World War II veteran.

"This is a tough group of guys so don't screw with them," said veteran Pete Keeser while laughing.

Once the veterans arrived at the memorial in D.C., they found out the barricades had already been pushed aside for them.

"Well, thank God!" said Elsie Lemberger, "If I had been here she and I would have been there pushing it down."

The barricades have actually become a political hot button attracting many members of Congress to the site. That didn't sit right with some other politicians though.

"We're here to honor people from our states," said Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill. "The elected officials that are here that don't have members from their states, they are trying to take advantage of these veterans by scoring political points and frankly it's infuriating."

But seeing the impact of the shutdown isn't changing minds of some lawmakers, including Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins, from Kansas.

"If anything I think it helps people stick to principles," she said.

Veterans find the politics of all this downright frustrating.

"Why can't they get together and do something?" said veteran Gaza Bodnar. "They're just fighting each other."

"This country isn't used to individuals shutting things down," said veteran Ken Bonar, "We're used to lifting things up."

Pop Miller, a 93-year-old veteran and four-time Bronze Star recipient didn't try to hide his anger.

"They should have their a**** kicked for a trick like that," he said.

But the veterans said they didn't let politics ruin this day. For them it was about personal reflection and honoring fallen friends at their memorial. As one veteran said, "I thank God I lived to see it."

A National Park Service employee told FOX that the memorial does remain closed but these Honor Flights are considered first amendment events, allowed by law, so veterans who make the trip to D.C. won't be barred from entering the memorial.

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