Minn. Veterans Share Stories at 'Million Vet March on the Memorials'

Updated: 10/13/2013 6:16 PM KSTP.com By: Katherine Johnson

"We need to be mad," shouted a speaker. "Not passionate about this or that and the other. We need to be mad."

Those are words echoing throughout the country.

"I'm ashamed of our elected officials, that they allowed this to happen," said Sgt. Charles Patterson, who helped organize the event.

The Million Vet March on the Memorials is in response to the closure of our national war memorials in Washington, D.C., due to the government shutdown.

"I feel like America is failing in its responsibilities to those who have laid down their lives for our freedoms and liberties," said Patterson.

Patterson was one of dozens of veterans who came to share his story at the Vietnam Memorial in Saint Paul.

"I have faith in us, I have faith in America, and I know our numbers may be few but our hearts are big," he said at the podium.

Physically and emotionally changed by combat, Patterson says now his pride in his country has been wounded. The shutdown closed the World War II Memorial in D.C. and veterans who have traveled to see it have been turned away.

"They experienced something that is sacred to all of us veterans and that's the memory of our fallen comrades," said Patterson.

After the budget crisis is resolved, founding members of the movement plan to introduce a bill that would prevent any memorials from being closed again unless it's for maintenance.