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One-Man Militia Cleaning Up National Mall Monuments
WASHINGTON (CBSDC) -- You probably havent heard of the Memorial Militia.
Its likely the groups only member hadnt heard of it before nine days ago.
Now, armed with a chainsaw and lawnmower, Chris Cox is on a one-man mission to clean up the National Mall as the Park Service employees normally tasked with keeping the area tidy sit idle during the shutdown of the federal government.
Cox, who resides in South Carolina, says he isnt motivated by political reasons but feels obligated to help as veterans prepare to descend on the nations capital for this weekends Million Vet March.
Regardless of how many former service members actually attend the rally, Cox says making them presentable is just the right thing to do.
These are our memorials. Do they think that were just going to let them go to hell? No, Cox exclusively told All-News 99.1 reporter John Doman. If they shut down our memorials, were still going to take the trash out, were going to clean the windows, were going to cut the grass, were going to pull the weeds, were going to do the tree work.
His tasks for Wednesday include clearing a large 12-inch thick branch that had fallen onto a tree-lined path near the reflecting pool and mowing the lawn around the Lincoln Memorial.
Cox does not have a ride-on mower. Instead, he is using a simple gasoline-powered variety that one could find in millions of homes across America. And he does so with a smile.
Cox, who carries with him the state flag of South Carolina, hopes his Memorial Militia will expand to include other volunteers before Sundays event. If not, he plans to keep working the area between the Lincoln and World War II memorials as best he can.
Theres a lot of preparation to get ready for them and theres nobody here representing the government, he said.
Park Police do not condone Coxs mission for liability reasons, but let him work undisturbed for a time. He believes he was given an unofficial green light because his heart was in the right place.
But the green light was rescinded and authorities asked Cox to disband the militia. He agreed and has stopped the cleanup for the time being with the work far from complete.