Local veterans rally to call for reopening of D.C. memorials


Dozens of veterans gathered at the Alabama Veterans Memorial in Birmingham Sunday in a show of support for the Million Vet March at the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. {}While that much larger rally spawned protests at other sites around the nation's capital, the meeting in Central Alabama was low-key. {}Veterans, representing all branches of service, reminisced on their time in the military as they toured the Hall of Heroes and admired the 36 large columns that make up the memorial.Still, for many in attendance, emotions were strong. {}Ninety-year-old Milton Rayburn traveled from his home in Tuscaloosa County to participate. {}He was just 19-years-old, living in Midfield, when he was drafted into World War II. {}On the government's refusal to allow visitors to the World War II Memorial during the shutdown, Rayburn said, "makes your blood run cold, you know. {}Makes you think, what did we fight for this country for, if we can't do what we want to."George Winslow was also in attendance. {}He enlisted in the U.S. Army at age 18, serving from 1966 to 1968. {}His son, Ryan, followed in his footsteps of service. {}Ryan Winslow was just 17-years-old when he joined the Marines. {}In March 2006, the young man from Hoover arrived in Iraq with the 2nd Tank Battalion, Scout Platoon. {}Three weeks later, he was killed by a roadside bomb. {}Winslow, now a member of the Gold Star Families organization, is upset by the closure of monuments in the capital, but he's even more upset about the shutdown's effect on families of service members killed since the crisis began. {}The families have been denied death and burial benefits. Winslow said, "I cannot come up with the words to describe how that makes me feel, and I think the American people...should really be outraged."


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