Busloads of World War II veterans broke through the barricades at the National World War II Memorial in Washington on Tuesday after the National Park Service closed all of its national parks and memorials because of the federal government shutdown.
But according to its website, the memorial “was funded almost entirely by private contributions, as specified in Public Law 103-32. The campaign received more than $197 million in cash and pledges. Support came from hundreds of thousands of individual Americans, hundreds of corporations and foundations, veterans groups, dozens of civic, fraternal and professional organizations, states and one territory, and students in 1,200 schools across the country.”
The veterans who visited Tuesday were part of the nonprofit Honor Flight Network. They had chartered an $80,000 airplane, and their plans were too far advanced to postpone, said Wayne Lennep, spokesman for the Mississippi Gulf Coast honor flights, The Washington Post reported. U.S. Park Police allowed the bus to stop.
“I’m not going to enforce the no stopping or standing sign for a group of 90 World War II veterans,” an officer said. “I’m a veteran myself.”
According to the memorial’s website, the project, costing around $182 million, was paid for by donated and pledged funds.
“These costs include site selection and design, construction and sculpture, a National Park Service maintenance fee required by the Commemorative Works Act, groundbreaking and dedication ceremonies, fund raising, and the 11-year administrative costs of the project from its inception in 1993 through completion in 2004,” the website reads.
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“Remaining funds are held on deposit with the U.S. Treasury in a National WWII Memorial Trust Fund. The funds will be used by the American Battle Monuments Commission solely to benefit the World War II Memorial.”