Americans visiting a D-Day cemetery in France were angry to learn that the cemetery was closed on account of the government shut down.
Thousands of Americans flock to Normandy each year to see the beaches and sharp cliff-faces where Allied soldiers made their first entry into Nazi-occupied France during a massive invasion on June 6, 1944, known as D-Day.
Next year will be the 70th anniversary of the invasion of Normandy; tourists arrived at the memorial site, only to find the gates chained shut. “Due to the U.S. Government shut-down this site is closed to the public,” read a sign on the gate. Dozens of roses had been strewn underneath by visitors.
Visitors have planned trips for months and were deprived access to the monuments, which are run by the American Battle Monument Commission that manages cemeteries for servicemen in foreign countries. The Commission is considered “non-essential.”
“We were very very sad, after traveling so far and making such plans, to find that the government has elected to shut this place down,” said Danny Fergusen from North Carolina, a lawyer. “We think it’s all political, and we think it’s terrible.”
Another visitor, Fred Oldman whose father was part of the Utah Beach Invasion was shocked to find the site closed. “We scheduled this trip about nine months ago and unfortunately we can’t go to a cemetery because our government seems to shut everything down when they can’t get along,” he said. “So we’re very disappointed in that.”