Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin got together to rile up a bunch of tea partiers in front of the World War II Memorial, and the result was about what you’d expect. The rally, which organizers called the Million Vet March on the Memorials, was billed as a protest against the government shutdown–induced closure of D.C.’s monuments to soldiers who died fighting for this country so that politicians could use them as political props. While the group that stormed the now barricaded World War II Memorial on the first day of the shutdown consisted of actual World War II veterans, the people who showed up on the National Mall today mostly seemed to be of the less heroic variety. “This is the people’s memorial,” said Cruz as he addressed the crowd, which the AP said was in the “hundreds.” “Let me ask a simple question. Why is the federal government spending money to erect barricades to keep veterans out of this memorial?”
Palin offered a similar take: “You look around though and you see these barricades and you have to ask yourself, is this any way that a commander in chief would show his respect, his gratitude to our military? This is a matter of shutdown priorities.” A guy named Larry Klayman from the conservative group Freedom Watch also encouraged the audience to “wage a second American nonviolent revolution” to “demand that this president leave town, to get up, to put the Quran down, to get up off his knees, and to figuratively come out with his hands up.” Following the speaking portion of the event, participants “cut the plastic links between metal barriers” surrounding the World War II Memorial “and pushed them aside,” as you can see below.
After that, the group wandered over to the Lincoln Memorial and removed its barricades, as well. Some demonstrators then carried the barricades over to Pennsylvania Avenue so they could dump them in front of the White House fence. Having done that, the protesters dispersed, leaving members of the United States Park Police to put the barriers back up and re-secure the sites. They are, of course, not currently being paid for this.