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Crowds return to pay respects at USS Arizona Memorial

By Sarah Zoellick

LAST UPDATED: 04:32 p.m. HST, Oct 18, 2013

Visitors and tour groups flocked back to the USS Arizona Memorial this morning for the first time since the government's partial shutdown closed national parks on Oct. 1.

The re-opening at 7 a.m. came as a relief to tourists who feared that they would not get to see one of Hawaii's most-visited and most-revered attractions.

Elmer and Mary Byrd of Tennessee arrived on Oahu on Tuesday, hoping that the shutdown would end before they left the island.

"If we had made a list from top to bottom of the things that we wanted to see that was number one," Mary Byrd said as she pointed toward the stark white memorial and her voice cracked with emotion. "My husband served in Vietnam and his dad in World War II and his grandfather in World War I, and it was breaking our hearts that we weren't going to be able to be there."

The Byrds toured the USS Missouri Wednesday and came back to the area today to visit the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, which was closed during the duration of the 16-day shutdown.

"We were so blessed to be able to come back today, so thankful," Mary Byrd said. 

The shutdown ended Thursday and some parks, including Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, re-opened immediately, but officials needed a day to prepare for the re-opening of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument.

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CloudForest wrote:
Obama closed it in the first place because he needed a diversion from his lingering scandals.
on October 18,2013 | 11:58AM
hanalei395 wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on October 18,2013 | 12:19PM
eoe wrote:
I've come to the conclusion there are a lot of paid right-wing trolls on this site. Hawaii is the second most Democratic state in the country, the state senate is 24-1 Democratic, the state house 44-7 D. 70 % of people voted for Barrack. Despite that, 9 out of 10 comments on this site are from the hard right. Some of the most prolific posters seem to start posting at 4 and 5 in the morning, telling me they likely don't live here.
on October 18,2013 | 12:27PM
eoe wrote:
In addition most of these comments are just cut and paste. Benghazi, solyndra, bleh bleh bleh, Doesn't matter what the topic is.
on October 18,2013 | 12:28PM
CloudForest wrote:
Not kidding even a little bit. My father walked across Omaha Beach at the Normandy Invasion - where he got his first purple heart. After getting patched up in an Army hospital he got shipped back to the front lines where it started to snow, just in time for the Battle of the Bulge - where he got his second purple heart. On the front lines for the third time he helped to liberate Germany from the Nazis. He would be denied the memorial he fought for and lost many friends for by direct order of Obama and those he sent to enforce the order to shut down an open air monument. How unjust and how spiteful. I know this comment is unpopular - but sometimes the truth hurts yet needs to be said.
on October 18,2013 | 01:05PM
hanalei395 wrote:
The Republican government shutdown ... was a "direct order of Obama". ... So says a complete idi0t.
on October 18,2013 | 01:24PM
eoe wrote:
Prove it, whack job
on October 18,2013 | 04:23PM
CloudForest wrote:
WW II Memorial closed out of spite by Obama and his minions ------------> cruel to those who paid for it in blood. Took more park police to close it than it would have been to keep open! To believe that adding more debt to every man woman and child in America is Orwellian in it's belief and application -------- democrats are clueless and are taking everyone into slavery by voting themselves a pay raise at the working man and woman's expense.
on October 18,2013 | 12:32PM
CloudForest wrote:
The truth will set you free!
on October 18,2013 | 12:35PM
Yes, it will set you free-providing you are searching for the truth. But it appears you are looking for an excuse-to which I can truthfully say: It is not Obama, the GOP, the Dems, Reps, Indepen.....it is a combination of many factors. Unbeleivable people have the audacity to blame 1 person for the mess were in. Lets speak the truth when we are Speaking the Truth!
on October 18,2013 | 01:52PM
HD36 wrote:
The budget deficit under Obama is more than twice as large as any other president. So when je saus he lowered the deficit by the most of any president he's not lying. It's just that it was the largest in history so it's like a student telling his mom he got a D- instead of an F. The National Deficit on the other hand has and is ever growing now past $17 trillion. The bugget deficit is simple the difference between what we take in and what we spend. Hooray for the government. As long as China, Japan and the rest of the world is dumb enough to loan us money, we might as well find ways to spend it. Of course the government found the most public places to shutdown first. This would make the propoganda brainwashed, government dependent fools cry and scream for Tea Bagger heads. Well congrrats, the majority of Americans are too busy working to pay attention and are simply ignorant of the true crises facing this nation.
on October 18,2013 | 07:45PM
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