World War I Memorial annual ceremony to honor D.C.'s fallen stopped by sequester

A May tradition that dates back more than 80 years, to honor those who gave their lives in service, appears to be coming to an end.

Because of sequestration, there will be no ceremony to honor D.C.'s fallen at the World War I Memorial in Southwest.

Visitors from around the country tell ABC7 that's a shame.

In a letter to members, the chair of a D.C. American Legion said he's received a call from the National Park Service saying that "due to the sequestration imposed upon them, they do not have the funding to provide support, as they have in the past."

The Park Service said it would cost $1,000 for a podium and PA system. The group had only $800 in its treasury.

"I guess in a way I'm appalled because we have a huge budget surplus of $400 million," says Paula Blair, a District resident.

Critics say Mayor Vincent Gray and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton never attend the ceremonies, yet fought efforts to nationalize the memorial.

Those who lost the fight to nationalize the memorial say D.C. needs to step up so this doesn't happen again.

"I think if the D.C. government picked up the funding, it would get more attendance and more attention and would become a significant event every year," says Edwin Fountain, World War I Memorial Foundation Director.