In keeping with our solemn obligation to preserve the liberty that our World War II heroes fought for, Oath Keepers posted an Honor Guard at the WWII Memorial, beginning on Wednesday morning, October 16, led by 91 year old WWII Army Airborne combat veteran Renn Bodeker, to ensure that the Memorial remained open and accessible to the WWII veterans on Honor Flights, and open to the public, for the duration of the absurd “shutdown” of the Memorial (which made no sense at an open-air memorial made of concrete and stone).
Our concern was that in between large demonstrations, there was a risk that WWII veterans would be denied access. We made sure that didn’t happen.
WWII veteran Renn Bodeker flew in from Montana on Wednesday morning and promptly led the Oath Keeper Honor Guard in dismantling the silly ‘Barrycades’ and carrying them across the street, where they were left on the grass on the other side, in front of the Washington Memorial. People were already ignoring the barricades and walking around them to enter the Memorial, but Renn found the presence of barricades around the WWII Memorial so offensive and absurd that he couldn’t stand to see them up. So, they came down!
Stewart’s Account of What Happened:
When Renn and I arrived at the Memorial, he told us he couldn’t stand the sight of the damned barricades so we resolved to remove them. Nobody tried to stop us (frankly, we did it so fast we were inside the reaction time of the police). Some police officers did finally show up, just as we were finishing. They were very polite and respectful when speaking with Renn. When the lead officer asked “if we bring all these back, you’re not going to do it again, are you?” Renn replied, “won’t promise anything.”
The officers let us know that they were veterans too, and understood why we were doing this. Clearly, they were in no hurry to see the barricades back up, and for most of the day, there were NO barricades up at the WWII memorial at all, as it should be. Mission accomplished. An eye-sore and blight upon the honor of our veterans had been removed, yet again. On Sunday, thousands of veterans had “stormed the ‘Barrycades’” and had torn them down, marked them “Return to Sender,” and marched to the White House, where they deposited them in front of the fence, but those barricades had been promptly replaced on Monday, and had been up again since.
We enjoyed a peaceful, serene day at the Memorial, and talked to many WWII veterans, Honor Flight volunteers, and High School students on tour, who very much enjoyed hearing Renn’s account of how he and his brother paratroopers parachuted in behind enemy lines to rescue 2,100 POWs at the Los Banos prison camp in the Philippines before the Japanese guards could kill the prisoners.
Unfortunately, late in the afternoon, a work crew showed up in trucks with NEW barricades and put them in place, yet again annoying the hell out of our WWII veterans and their families.
We had some spirited debate with the work crew about how they were “just following orders” much like was done in Germany, and were getting ready to take the new barricades down when a police Captain arrived and talked to us, very respectfully, telling us that a “compromise” to end the shutdown was in the works, and asked us to hold off on removing the barricades again until we saw whether that happened, and assured us that people would have access to the Memorial, with some wide space at each side of the barricades for folks to get in. Renn agreed to that, and said he would wait till Thursday morning to see what happens. He was our “commander” for the day, and we deferred to him. If the barricades had remained up on Thursday morning, we would have taken them down again.
All, in all, it was a good day. The primary purpose was to make sure the WWII veterans had access to their memorial, and we also managed to remove the eye-sore of the ‘Barrycades’ for most of the day. Many people thanked us, and especially thanked Renn, and he had a blast. He did an interview with ABC, and a Norwegian news crew, and we have more video and pics that we will post ASAP.
The Obama Administration had amply demonstrated its desire to shut down the Memorial and deny access, including trying to keep out WWII veterans on once-in-a-lifetime Honor Flight trips. To their honor, from day one the WWII vets ignored the stupid signs and barricades, and went in anyway, and that set the precedent for all others to follow, with thousands of Americans ignoring the signs and entering the Memorial each day since.
We did not want to risk even the chance that a WWII veteran would be denied access, so we established the Honor Guard. The “shutdown” is now apparently over, and the barricades have finally been removed by the government work crews, but the fiasco and absurdity of placing barricades around the WWII Memorial has awakened many Americans to the arbitrary, Alice-in-Wonder Land mentality that dominates in D.C., and rekindled the spirit of civil-disobedience – lead by our WWII veterans. It is sad that in their twilight years those who fought arbitrary, capricious, oppressive government abroad had to fight it here too, but we are glad they led by example and reminded us of our great obligation to preserve what they fought so hard for.
For the Republic,
Founder of Oath Keepers
Note: Stewart flew World War II hero Renn Bodeker to D.C. from Plains, Montana, to join the action. Renn is one of Oath Keepers’ cherished – and distinguished – members. In this video Renn is talking about his combat parachute jump into the Japanese prison camp at Los Banos, Philippines, in early 1945. Last year Renn went on his own Honor Flight to the memorial, and Stewart flew there with him. Now Oath Keepers has flown Renn back for an unexpected 2nd trip from Montana to D.C., so Renn could lead the Oath Keepers Honor Guard.
Enjoy as Renn recalls his famous parachute jump which saved over two thousand American lives in 1945. We apologize for the terrible audio. Unfortunately, the camera mic picked up surrounding conversations, but the content is still worth a listen while viewing Renn telling this story about a now-famous parachute operation which saved 2,146 American lives:
Following Up: In the video below Renn Bodeker and Stewart Rhodes are interviewed by Luke Rudowski of “We Are Change” on Thursday October 17, 2013:
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