Gettysburg KKK Rally Canceled Due To Shutdown

on October 01 2013 8:47 PM
Members of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) participate in a cross-lighting ceremony at a Klansman's home in Warrenville, S.C., Oct. 23, 2010.
Members of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) participate in a cross-lighting ceremony at a Klansman's home in Warrenville, S.C., Oct. 23, 2010. Reuters

The shutdown of the federal government may be having some dire affects for the nation, but there's at least one positive: a KKK rally planned at Gettysburg has been shut down in the wake of the national park's closure.

According to Central Pennsylvania's Patriot News, the Confederate White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan obtained a permit for a rally at Gettysburg National Military Park on Saturday, Oct. 5, but due to the government shutdown, the rally has been canceled. The shutdown, which went into effect at midnight, ordered the closing of all nonessential government operations, including national parks. As a result, October permits at Gettysburg have been canceled.

“Tourists will find every one of America's national parks and monuments, from Yosemite to the Smithsonian to the Statue of Liberty, immediately closed,” Obama explained in a statement Tuesday. “And of course the communities and small business that rely on these national treasures for their livelihoods will be out of customers and out of luck.”

In keeping with Obama’s statements, the vast majority of Gettysburg National Military Park has been closed and permits for at least 11 events in October have been canceled, including the permit for the Ku Klux Klan’s Saturday rally.

While many may find it objectionable that the Maryland-based Ku Klux Klan organization was able to receive a permit to operate on federal land in the first place, park officials explained to CBS Philadelphia that they have “a responsibility to make the land available for citizens to exercise their right to freedom of speech, even if the views expressed are contrary to those of most Americans.”

Last month, the Confederate White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan held a similar membership rally at Antietam National Battlefield in Maryland. That park marks the site of a bloody Civil War battle, the first Civil War battle to take place on Union soil.

While permits have been canceled and much of Gettysburg has been shut down, some parts of the park still remain open. The Museum and Visitor Center, for instance, will remain open throughout the government shutdown as it is owned and operated by the private Gettysburg Foundation. Other buildings in the park, including the David Willis House and Eisenhower National Historic Site, are funded by the government and have been closed accordingly.