My heart is broken to see the veterans lined up in their wheelchairs outside the World War II Memorial which was closed off to them due to the shutdown of the our federal government ("'A little yellow ribbon is not going to stop them,'" Oct. 2).

My heart is also broken to see the Republicans rushing to these venerable old men, unlocking the gates, even writing them a nice check from the Republican National Committee (enlarged so that the media could get a good shot). Let me be clear about my broken heart — it is broken with rage.

My father served in World War II. He died at age 49, after a very hard life, during which he never once spoke to his children about what he saw. I am a veteran. I served during the Vietnam War on the burn ward where I saw a lot of young soldiers in terrible pain. Most were disfigured. A good number of died. I am a member of Veterans for Peace and Vietnam Veterans Against the War.

Republican congressmen seldom rush forward to open gates for veterans like me. How dare they now use those World War II vets as props for their political theater — whether or not the venerable vets agree with their politics and whether or not they have been duped into thinking it wasn't the Republicans who closed the gates in the first place.

Madeleine Mysko, Towson