Veterans marched on Sunday in Washington in protest of the partial government shutdown that has kept them and other Americans from visiting war memorials across the country, with support from several star conservatives.

“This is the people’s memorial,” Texas Sen. Ted Cruz told a crowd of several hundred gathered near the WWII Memorial on the closed National Mall, which has become a national symbol of the shutdown and the country’s response. “Simple question: Why is the federal government spending money to keep veterans out of the memorial? Why did they spend money to keep people out of Mount Vernon, Mount Rushmore? Our veterans should be above political games.”

Veterans, including many in wheelchairs, were allowed inside the memorial at about midday as others took the protest to the edge of the White House South Lawn.

“Today somebody’s wife [or] husband is dead in Afghanistan. Is somebody going to pay her husband [or] his wife or their children?” one protester shouted at the White House, referring to the partial shutdown cutting off benefits for the survivors of military personnel.

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