Tom Hanks Praises Vets for Charging WWII Memorial

Friday, 04 Oct 2013 11:28 AM

By Lisa Barron

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Actor Tom Hanks has jumped into the national dialogue over the government shutdown, praising military veterans who stormed the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., earlier this week.

"Good for the veterans. Good, go see it. We should all have access to them all the time," he told a journalist at a screening of his new movie, "Captain Philips," adding, "Sorry that they didn’t have it."

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The memorial, which Hanks helped to fund after he starred in "Saving Private Ryan," was closed as part of the shutdown.

But a group of veterans broke through the barricades around the monument on Tuesday, and it now remains open to visitors.

"Did they assault it with helicopters? Landing craft? Did they bust through in a Jeep?" Hanks, who has often spoken up for veterans, joked.

When he learned that they had help from some congressmen, the two-time Oscar winner said, "Good! We should all have access to our national monuments and parks. It’s as simple as that."

A park ranger told GOP Rep. Randy Neugebauer of Texas at the memorial site on Wednesday that it was "difficult" to have to deny access to veterans and apologized for the closure.

Neugebauer was part of a group of lawmakers that gathered at the memorial after reports it had been closed as a result of the shutdown.

Referring to veterans, he asked, "How do you look at them and say— how do you deny them access? I don’t get that."

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