There were nearly 6 million living World War II veterans counted in the 2000 U.S. Census. By 2010, there were fewer than 2 million. An estimated 640 World War II Veterans die each day.
Last week the Obama Administration chose to barricade the World War II Memorial to keep aging veterans and other citizens out during the so-called government “shutdown.”
It’s tremendously wasteful to spend taxpayer funds and personnel shutting down an open-air memorial that could be visited at any time of the day prior to the shutdown, whether staff were nearby or not. But more than that, it’s just cruel: World War II veterans are on a race against time to see their memorial.
The closing of high-profile sites for tactical advantage has political benefits. Who can forget how President Bill Clinton ordered the Washington Monument closed during the 1995 shutdown? As the photos of the closures made the evening news, night after night, media pressure mounted on House Republicans to cave.
Seventeen years later, people aren’t manipulated in quite the same fashion. For one thing, the nightly news media don’t get to control the information as easily as they did in 1995. After reports of incongruities about what got shut down and what didn’t exploded on social media, the news stories took a different tone.
Bloomberg News reported on the “seeming randomness” of the closures:
Grocery stores on Army bases in the U.S. are closed. The golf course at Andrews Air Force base is open.