Sequestration Kills Off Memorial Day Events Across the Country

Mike O'Brien

The National Park Service and the military are heavily scaling back on Memorial Day events because of budget cuts caused by sequestration.

Several NPS sites across the country will be closed for the holiday, forcing the postponement of traditional events to honor the more than 1,322,000 who have been killed in the nation’s wars since the Revolution.

The ever-popular Air Force Thunderbirds and the Navy’s Blue Angels aerial acrobatics teams will not be flying this weekend and the Navy has had to drop out of the annual Fleet Week in New York City to save itself $7 million.

The NPS is closing the following sites: The Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site in Washington, D.C.; the Harry S Truman National Historic Site in Missouri; the James A. Garfield National Historic Site in Ohio and the Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota.

The Homestead National Monument of America in Nebraska will be open, but with reduced hours and reduced shuttle bus transportation, reports.

A traditional gathering at the National Mall in Washington D.C. last Sunday was attended by just three women who placed wreaths at the District of Columbia’s World War I Memorial.

There was no music, no speakers, no official government presence and no support from the NPS, which usually donates $1,000 for the event.

Air Force Col. Phil Waite, the director of Community and Public Outreach at the Pentagon, said: "Memorial Day is significant in the life of our nation, especially for the families of the fallen.

"The American public is losing here in not being able to see our military, not being able to be inspired by them. It all points to the fact that sequester is very painful."

For the Air Force Academy’s graduation ceremony on May 29, non-profit groups are stepping in to help in the absence of federal and military support, reports.

A fleet of World War II-vintage fighters and bombers from the National Museum of World War II Aviation in Colorado Springs and the Texas Flying Legends Museum of Houston will be replacing the Air Force Thunderbirds in the skies.

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