Thousands of veterans and their families, friends, and supporters gathered at the National World War II Memorial on the National Mall to affirm the right of veterans to unhindered access to the memorial. The Oct. 13 rally came in response to the difficulty some vets faced in visiting the memorial after the National Park Service closed the site following the start of the federal government’s partial shutdown on Oct. 1. “This [memorial] does not belong to the government. It belongs to the people,” said Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) in his comments to the crowd. Demonstrators peacefully removed the park service barricades standing in front of the memorial at the start of the rally. Many World War II vets fly to Washington, D.C., on “honor flights”—made possible by donations and non-profit work—in order to visit the memorial at least once in their lifetimes. Don’t forget: the Air Force Memorial is, and has remained, open throughout the shutdown.
The F-35 Joint Program Office has officially announced plans to issue multiple sole-source contracts to Pratt & Whitney to upgrade the fighter’s F135 engine—a widely expected move after Pentagon officials indicated they would do so earlier this year instead of developing an entirely new engine.