Privately-funded WWII memorial barricaded at taxpayer’s expense

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While the World War II memorial has been at the center of government shutdown posturing this week, the park itself actually came about largely through private funding.

According to the memorial’s website, “National World War II Memorial was funded almost entirely by private contributions, as specified in Public Law 103-32. The campaign received more than $197 million in cash and pledges. Support came from hundreds of thousands of individual Americans, hundreds of corporations and foundations, veterans groups, dozens of civic, fraternal and professional organizations, states and one territory, and students in 1,200 schools across the country.”

The World War II memorial was closed Tuesday in light of the government shutdown.

The closure made national news Tuesday and Wednesday as World War II veterans, travelling with the Honor Flight program, responded to the closure by moving the barriers to entry and visiting their monument.

According to the memorial’s webpage, donations and pledges were used to fund the $182 million memorial project costs — which “includes site selection and design, construction and sculpture, a National Park Service maintenance fee required by the Commemorative Works Act, groundbreaking and dedication ceremonies, fund raising, and the 11-year administrative costs of the project from its inception in 1993 through completion in 2004.”

“Remaining funds are held on deposit with the U.S. Treasury in a National WWII Memorial Trust Fund,” the memorial website reads. “The funds will be used by the American Battle Monuments Commission solely to benefit the World War II Memorial.”

Though conceived by largely private funds, the memorial is operated and maintained by the National Park Service.

“Because of the federal government shutdown, all national parks are closed and National Park Service webpages are not operating,” the National Park Service website read Wednesday.

While the WWII Memorial is open 24 hours a day on a normal schedule, according to a report from CNN, the barricades around the monument were due to health and maintenance concerns.

“I know that this is an open-air memorial, but we have people on staff who are CPR trained, (and) we want to make sure that we have maintenance crew to take care of any problems. What we’re trying to do is protect this resource for future generations,” National Mall and Memorial Parks spokeswoman Carol Johnson told CNN.

(H/T Weasel Zippers)

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