PETAL, MS (WDAM) - A former Forrest County sheriff was among a group of nearly 100 determined veterans from Mississippi who made national headlines Tuesday when they defied a partial federal government shutdown to visit a Washington, D.C. monument that honors their achievements.
Gene Walters and 90 other World War Two vets took an honor flight to the nation's capital and they pushed aside barricades to enter the National World War Two Memorial.
It had been closed by the administration and park police initially denied them access. But, the officers gave in when several members of congress insisted they let the veterans in.
"Nobody was thinking about breaking the gate open," said Walters. "It was just a spontaneous thing, it just happened. And of course, when we had walked through the gate and everybody else saw us go through the gate, here they come," he said.
"It was built in their honor and then, they were stopped and they thought they weren't going to get to see it but, thanks to the congressional delegation, they did get to see it and I'm proud of them," said Sue Walters, wife of Gene Walters.
The veterans got a welcome home to Gulfport Tuesday night.
Wednesday, more veterans and their families defied the shutdown by making their way inside the World War Two Memorial.