A Texas World War II veteran attempting to visit the graves of his fellow soldiers who participated in the D-Day invasion found the gates locked for the government shutdown, according to Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, even though the commission responsible for the cemeteries has $85 million on hand.
"The government has shut down 17 times," Stockman tweeted. "Obama is the first president to ever issue an order to lock veterans out of military cemeteries."
Donny Ferguson, a spokesman for the congressman, said they found out that the gates were locked when a constituent — a U.S. Army paratrooper who landed in Normandy on D-Day — notified them that he had been unable to enter the cemetery.
The American Battle Monuments Commission attributed the closure to the government shutdown. "Due to a lack of funding for ABMC operations (U.S. Government shutdown), ABMC cemeteries and memorials are temporarily closed," the commission said.
"We are unable to respond to your inquiries or provide the services and products described in the “Services Available” section of this Web site. We regret any inconvenience these temporary actions may cause. ABMC will resume normal operations when a new funding measure is passed by the U.S. Congress and signed by the President of the United States."
Ferguson told the Washington Examiner that the commission has $85 million left over from fiscal year 2012.