WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Nearly 100 World War II veterans from Mississippi flew to Washington Monday morning to see the WWII memorial.
But when they arrived at the memorial that was erected in their honor, they were greeted by a barricade with a sign from the National Park Service that read, "Because of the federal government shutdown, all National Parks are closed."
"To get up here and not be able to see it, it's pitiful," said 89-year-old Howard Davis, a World War II veteran.
"It means a great deal to me because I have anticipated coming up here for years, and I finally made it and what can I see? Nothing," said another veteran.
Carol Johnson, a spokeswoman for the National Park Service said, "The Park Service did not want to do this, but we've been instructed as a federal agency to close our facilities and our grounds."
Several republican members of Congress, who gathered to greet the veterans when they arrived at the memorial, say they were outraged by the closure.
" It takes more effort to shut it down than it does to keep it open, and here we are denying this ability for our veterans, our WWII veterans, who are leaving us every day. I just think it's outrageous," said Republican Congressman Bill Huizenga.
Three Republican Congressmen then defied the National Park Service and opened the barricade .
"Every now and then you've got to ask forgiveness instead of permission," said Republican Congressman Steven Palazzo from Mississippi.
" I think it's wonderful that the Congressmen took the gate down and let us come see it," said Davis.
But while they're grateful they got in to see their memorial, they still had this message for members of Congress.
"I'm disgusted with them," said a veteran named George, who asked WUSA9 not to use his last name. "Get up off and do something."
Monday's visit of the WWII memorial was organized by Honor Flight, a program that brings veterans from all over the country to see the WWII memorial for free.