The “honor flight” of World War II veterans from the Story County area got to see their national memorial today, despite the federal government shutdown.

A Stars and Stripes reporter on the scene says Republican Congressman Steve King — who represents the Ames area — “distracted” park police manning barricades on the National Mall, as the area is closed because of the federal government shutdown. A group of World War II veterans from Mississippi and their escorts charged through the barricades, with a bagpiper leading the way. They were followed by the Honor Flight delegation from Iowa.

Senator Tom Harkin, a Democrat from Iowa, was on the mall to greet the Iowans and was phoning the National Park Service before the vets arrived, trying to get the barricades removed. A small group of Republicans from the U.S. House removed some of the barricades, according to CNN. The network also reported park police were standing aside and not enforcing the closure of the memorials.

Many of the veterans are in wheelchairs, making the pilgrimage to Washington to see the memorial on the national mall that was dedicated to World War II veterans nine years ago.