Barricades ready to block off National Mall

Visitors climb the steps of the Lincoln Memorial Monday. The National Park Service will close monuments and memorials on the National Mall in the event of a government shutdown. (WTOP/Andrew Mollenbeck)

WASHINGTON — Monuments honoring some of America’s greatest leaders will be closed if the current leaders cannot agree on funding the government.

For some World War II veterans, that could mean the cancellation of a special trip to see the memorial honoring their service.

In the event of a government shutdown, monuments and memorials on the National Mall will be closed and barricaded. Fountains will be turned off, trash pick up will stop and bathrooms will be locked.

“We’re pre-staging in case there is a shutdown,” says Carol Johnson, a spokesperson with the National Park Service.

“We’ve got some signage out that we’re readying to turn on to let people know that the mall will be closed,” she says.

Barricades have already been positioned near the memorials. They’ll be moved into place Tuesday morning if Congress doesn’t prevent a shutdown.

Additionally, Jefferson and Madison Drives would be closed. The Tidal Basin parking lot would be shut.

“It will be very difficult to access the mall, and, in fact, it will be legally closed,” Johnson says.

Such a closure would be inconvenient for tourists. But a scheduled honor flight of veterans from Mississippi could lead to broader disgust.

A group of about 200 has a permit to visit the World War II Memorial on Tuesday. Now, that visit depends entirely on the government staying open.

“We are letting people know right now that in the case of a shutdown, those permitted events will be canceled,” Johnson says. “This is one of those.”

She expressed a particular sympathy for these veterans whose trip is in jeopardy.

“This is one of our favorite things on the mall, as we love having honor flights come,” she says. “This is really disappointing to us, and we know it’s very disappointing to them.”

A shutdown would also halt trash pick up on the mall and uptown parks. The 45 fountains throughout the National Mall and memorial parks would be turned off.

Follow @WTOP on Twitter.

Advertiser Content