WASHINGTON, D.C. (10/02/2013) - The World War II Memorial is shut down. The fountains are off, and the closed signs are up, but Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) is at the national monument anyway.
"The American people didn't vote for this. They voted for a government that operates," Kaptur said.
The World War II Memorial is just one of the many memorials and parks that shut its doors today as the federal government, too, shut its doors.
The closing of the WWII Memorial hits close to home for Kaptur. She is one of the original bill sponsors that helped erect the monument more than two decades ago.
Back in 1987, Kaptur recalls, "Roger Durbin yelled out at me at a fish fry in Jerusalem Township, ‘Congresswoman Kaptur, why is there no World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.?" She said that cajoling urged her to take action.
Durbin, for his part, fought in the historic Battle of the Bulge in 1944. He died of cancer at 79, only four months before ground was broken for the memorial in 2000.
Still, other veterans make the trip to see the memorial every day, including a group of Mississippi Honor Flight Veterans who managed to enter the memorial Tuesday, even though the doors were technically closed.
"It's sort of a push back of the American people saying you know, ‘You can do better than this. We have a right to see the memorial that belongs to us,'" Kaptur said.
As lawmakers try to figure out how to end the shutdown and re-open historic memorials in Washington, there are questions that are still begging to be asked, including the fact that both Republicans and Democrats are using the closing of the landmark as a "talking point."
"Well this member of Congress didn't vote to shut the government down," Kaptur said. "And she feels bad that veterans and visitors from afar have come here but they can't fully experience the memorial."
A place that is meant to honor our veterans, is now a place caught in the political divide.