The massive lawn around the Lincoln Memorial is no match for the ground-care gusto of Chris Cox.
The sole member of the Memorial Militia -- the organization he founded to help maintain the nation's memorials during the government shutdown -- Cox is on a mission to tidy up
the National Mall, reports WNEW-TV. With the grounds currently abandoned by Park Service employees unable to complete their maintenance tasks due to the shutdown, Cox says he has a duty to help maintain the the memorials and their grounds.
“These are our memorials. Do they think that we’re just going to let them go to hell? No,” Cox told All-News 99.1 reporter John Domen. “If they shut down our memorials, we’re still going to take the trash out, we’re going to clean the windows, we’re going to cut the grass, we’re going to pull the weeds, we’re going to do the tree work.”
The South Carolinian was specifically motivated to action by the Million Vet March, which is scheduled this weekend. With several lawn tools -- including a push mower -- Cox took to the lawn around the Lincoln Memorial on Wednesday. He removed a fallen tree branch and mowed grass between the Lincoln and World War II memorials, with his state flag in hand or tucked in his shirt.
Cox said he hopes his militia will grow in numbers as the weekend approaches. But he faced a slight snag on Wednesday when Park Police -- who didn't intrude when he first started his work -- instructed him to cease his cleanup. Focused solely on honoring the veterans, Cox stressed his actions were in no way motivated by politics. Meanwhile, his zeal has been met with a flurry of support from social media users lauding efforts to help his country.