The Lincoln Memorial is getting mowed even during the government shutdown, thanks to one patriot American volunteering his time and energy.
Because federal grounds crews are not keeping the grass around the monument manicured, the labor of love was conducted by a bearded mystery man from South Carolina. The mystery monument mower eventually was identified as Charleston native Chris Cox. He was carrying a South Carolina state flag.
Before federal park officials ordered the patriot to move along, passerby Brandon Morse captured a photo of the Lincoln Memorial lawn mowing and posted it to Twitter. Cyberspace went crazy over the image and aptly deemed the South Carolina man a “hero.” The now-viral tweet read, “A guy has taken it upon himself to mow the lawn at the Lincoln Memorial. God bless that man.”
According to the Weekly Standard, park police were notified about the unknown man mowing the Lincoln Memorial grounds – prompting three law enforcement cruisers and multiple officers to respond to the “scene.” The South Carolina man was not packing any type of weapon, just an old lawn mower and a dolly filled with common landscaping tools. The park police reportedly observed the mystery mower from a distance and could tell that he had just about completed his work for the day. After wiping some sweat from his brow, the Lincoln Memorial mower carefully folded and placed the South Carolina flag and put it inside a tube attached to his tool dolly.
Park police told the local media that the “random dude” was not arrested or charged with a crime, but was just asked to leave and he peacefully complied. CBS was among the first to learn that the Lincoln Memorial mower is Chris Cox. He is on a one-man mission to clean the National Mall area while the Park Service workers are off work.
Cox is not on some type of partisan political crusade; he just wanted the National Mall to look attractive when those who put their lives on the line for America come for the Million Vet March this weekend.
“These are our memorials,” Cox said. “Do they think that we’re just going to let them go to h—? No. 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.”
In a YouTube video which is rapidly approaching viral status, Cox referred to himself as the first member of the Memorial Militia Group. He wants to encourage all his fellow Americans to go out and help “fortify the boundaries of our national monuments, our memorials.” He also added that the Park Service is but a skeleton crew at the moment and spending many nights patrolling around the memorials only on bicycles and he does not want the monuments to become even more vulnerable to vandalism. Much like millions of other Americans, Chris Cox sees no reason that the nation’s open air memorials cannot remain open. The Lincoln Memorial mower wants everyone to come out with a trash bag and a rake and help keep the memorials secure and clean.
South Carolina Republican Representative Mark Sanford applauded Cox.
“Chris embodies what it means to be not just a South Carolinian, but an American,” Sanford said. “He saw a job that wasn’t getting done and decided to take care of it.”
Chris Cox and his Memorial Militia Group may not be allowed to continue their worthy efforts, though.
The same overly cautious mentality which could keep Cox from mowing the Lincoln Memorial again is also thwarting efforts to reopen the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee. Appalachian artist Jeremiah Spelas is organizing a Saturday protest over the closure and to increase awareness about the impact the Park Service decision is having on local businesses and scheduled weddings. The local mayor of Blount County worked diligently on a plan to get the Park Service-maintained roads back open via local funds, but it is currently not known whether or not the federal agency is open to discussion on the matter.