Although President Obama claims that he can’t avoid shutting down public sites and monuments, war memorials were in fact kept open during the 1995/1996 government shutdowns. The administration’s decision to barricade the Lincoln Memorial marks the first time in its history the memorial has been totally off limits to visitors during a shutdown.
The administration has also balked at efforts by non-governmental groups to maintain access to public sites. (Related: RNC offers to pay to keep WWII memorial open)
But during the Clinton-era shutdown, World War II veterans kept the Pearl Harbor memorial open.
“Despite the federal government shutdown and an unrepaired sign that reads ‘Arizona Memorial closed,’ tourists are still getting expert commentary about the World War II memorial at Pearl Harbor,” wrote the Associated Press on January 1, 1996.
“It’s our way of helping to preserve the history of this place,” Bob Kinzler, president of the Aloha Chapter of the Pearl Harbor Survivors, told the AP.
Barricades went up in national parks across Washington, D.C. Wednesday, including the Lincoln Memorial. This, too, was unprecedented.
Daniel Burnett, a volunteer with Honor Flight, sent The Daily Caller FOAIed documents showing how much the Park Service is spending on the mounted police. To house, feed, and care for the horses it costs more than $41,000 year. Park police starting salary is $52,020, according to their website.
Another unprecedented aspect of the current shutdown is that the president has until Wednesday evening refused any discussions with the opposition leadership. In 1995 and 1996 President Bill Clinton and House Speaker Newt Gingrich negotiated vigorously and struck several compromises, such as 75-percent funding plan that lasted more than a month. (Related: US economy boomed during 1995/1996 shutdown)