Vets ignore barriers at WWII memorial

World War II veterans walked past open barricades at the World War II memorial on the National Mall Tuesday morning, according to multiple reports. 

Busloads of veterans who flew into Washington on honor flights Tuesday arrived at the memorial honoring their service to find barricades closing the site. 

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The U.S. Park Service was required to close all national parks, including national memorials, under the government shutdown that began Tuesday. 

“We’re seeking guidance on how to respond,” the Park Police said, according to Stars and Stripes reporter Leo Shane III. 

Members of the Park Police on scene reportedly allowed the veterans to continue walking on the memorial site. Earlier reports had suggested veterans had broken through the barriers. 

Several congressional lawmakers showed up at the scene to support the veterans. 

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) arrived in the morning when the area was fenced and tried to contact Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to complain, according to CNN. 

Republican Reps. Louie Gohmert (Texas), Michele Bachmann (Minn.) Steve King (Iowa), Bill Huizenga (Mich.) and Steven Palazzo (Miss.) also appeared on the scene, reports say. 

Palazzo wrote a letter to President Obama Monday requesting that the monument remain open to the public. 

“It’s the best civil disobedience we’ve seen in Washington for a long time,” Huizenga said, according to The Washington Post

"Who's going to say no to a World War II veteran? I certainly wouldn't,” CNN reports Bachmann said. “America is not shutting down," she added, pointing to veterans.

The National Republican Congressional Committee is using the situation to hit Democrats.

"Democrats shut down WWII Memorial," an ad of the memorial on its website says. "Greatest generation storms through anyways."

It then solicits people to submit their names, e-mails and zip codes to show support for the veterans.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said that the scene at the memorial depicted the “silliness” in Washington and used it to urge Senate Democrats to reach a compromise with Republicans to end the shutdown. 

“I know that today, we have Honor Flight veterans flying in to Washington to come and enjoy the memorials here," Cantor told reporters Tuesday.

"I’m told that they have and are at the World War II memorial site, regardless of the barriers — because they should, as Americans and veterans, people who have served this country, have the ability to enjoy that site." 

Veterans who currently receive benefits from the Veterans Affairs Department might not feel any effects in the beginning of the shutdown, the VA said in recent days. But if the shutdown lasts at least two weeks, veterans may have trouble getting a hold of their disability benefits. 

— Bernie Becker contributed to this story.