A local woman is making the trek southward to demand the reopening of national memorials closed due to the federal government shutdown.
Laura Oostdyk is making the five-hour drive for Sunday's Million Vet March with her husband Paul. She told Patch she is hoping many people from the area will make the trip.
"I am a veteran, having served in the U.S. Army from 1985-1990, and a Hopatcong resident," she said. "The March is open to everyone who believe our war memorials and national parks should be reopened to all."
The main march will take place at the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. Many more events will take place at war memorials across the nation.
"They are open air parks generally open 24/7/365," Oostdyk said, "but because of the government shutdown, they have been barricaded and guarded from allowing anyone entry, specifically, WWII wets at the WWII Memorial in D.C."
The veteran said the march and rally have nothing to do with politics or political parties and everything to do with ensuring that veterans have access to honors they have earned.
"I'm not a political person, but I'm disgusted about the government shutdown and how we Americans are the ones being hurt by all of this," she said. "There are honor flights of WWII vets being flown [and] bussed into DC to the WWII Memorial only to be told they can't go in. Since the shutdown, there have been many people at the memorial helping these 80-90 year old vets to get through the barricades.
"This is who the march is for, along with all others that wish to visit," she said.