, Salem, MA


October 3, 2013

Our view: Park, refuge closings insult public's intelligence


The veterans, some in wheelchairs, had come from Mississippi to visit the World War II memorial. They arrived at the National Mall to barricades fitted with signs announcing that the memorial was closed due to the government shutdown. The Nazis couldn’t keep these men out of France. A few signs weren’t going to keep them from honoring their comrades in arms. They went in anyway.

The Park Police, to its credit, for the most part looked the other way.

“I’m not going to enforce the ‘no stopping or standing’ sign for a group of 90 World War II veterans,” a U.S. Park Police officer told the Washington Post. “I’m a veteran myself.”

Similarly, a group of Korean War veterans from Puerto Rico ignored barricades and laid a wreath at the memorial to their fellow soldiers.

Good for them. Why is federal oversight needed for a group of old veterans to visit some granite monuments set in a city park?

We understand, of course, that the federal government does a great many things that are necessary to the safety, security and welfare of the nation. But locking the gates of a wildlife sanctuary is not among them. Americans might be somewhat more sympathetic and less cynical toward government if its operatives did not so consistently treat the people like idiots. It is insulting.

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