D-Day Memorial Still Open Despite Government Shutdown
Bedford, VA - National Parks, including Appomattox and Booker T. Washington in Franklin County, remain closed during the federal government shutdown.
However, The National D-Day Memorial is open despite lots of confusion.
The memorial staff wants to make sure that people understand this site is not government funded and it is open during the shutdown.
Before Trent Spencer made the half-hour drive from Lynchburg with his grandfather, he wanted to make sure they could actually see the National D-Day Memorial once they got here.
"I wasn't entirely sure. I had to look up my own information,"
"We even heard some people in the community talk about not coming here because they heard we were closed," said Memorial President April Cheek-Messier.
Cheek-Messier says memorial volunteers and staff took numerous phone calls Tuesday... day one of the shutdown... from people asking if the memorial was open. Congress has looked at adding the memorial to the National Park System, and that's still under review.
The word "National" in the name might give people the wrong idea.
"We are not government funded. This is a private memorial run by a private foundation and we rely 100% on donations from the public. The government shutdown has not affected the National D-Day Memorial," said Cheek-Messier.
Not directly, but indirectly the closing of the Appomattox Court House National Historical Park and the Peaks of Otter Lodge could have an impact.
'When someone is visiting any of the area attractions, then a lot of times they will come and see us and vice versa, so this hurts us in that respect as well," said Cheek-Messier.
But on this sunny day in Bedford... there are plenty of people taking the tour, and apparently getting the message.
"Please come see us. We are in fact here," said Cheek-Messier
We asked Cheek Messier if the shutdown makes memorial leadership reluctant to even want to be part of the park service. She says they were already leaning toward not becoming a national park if that's offered, but they are waiting to see what's in that report before making a final decision.
All 36 Virginia State Parks are also open to the public. Managers of those systems have gotten a lot of calls from people concerned they are closing too. Again they are not, and everything remains intact.