Veterans pass barriers at closed WWII memorial

Korean War veteran Robert Olson, from Iowa, is pushed in his wheelchair by Zach Twedt, also from Iowa, around the National World War II Memorial in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013. Veterans who had traveled from across the country were allowed to visit the National World War II Memorial after it had been officially closed because of the partial government shutdown. After their visit, the National World War II Memorial was closed again. The Lincoln Memorial is seen in the distance. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Korean War veteran Robert Olson, from Iowa, is pushed in his wheelchair by Zach Twedt, also from Iowa, around the National World War II Memorial in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013. Veterans who had traveled from across the country were allowed to visit the National World War II Memorial after it had been officially closed because of the partial government shutdown. After their visit, the National World War II Memorial was closed again. The Lincoln Memorial is seen in the distance. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A group of veterans walked past barriers at the closed World War II memorial with help from members of Congress.

Hundreds of veterans arrived for a previously scheduled visit to the memorial Tuesday morning to find it barricaded by the National Park Service. Members of Congress, including Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, went to the site after receiving panicked emails and cut police tape to let in the veterans from Iowa and Mississippi.

Bachman says it was “pure joy” when the veterans were allowed in because they had traveled so far. She says members of Congress plan to continue coming down to the memorial to ensure veterans can visit.

Park spokeswoman Carol Johnson says the service didn’t want to keep veterans out, but the agency was directed to close all memorials.

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