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Amid government shutdown, one-man "Memorial Militia" cleans up National Mall

While many government employees are being furloughed and forced to stay home from work, Chris Cox has taken it upon himself to literally clean up after the mess the shutdown has made.

Cox has spent the past eight days since the shutdown began making sure the Lincoln Memorial and the National Mall are clean and presentable to visiting veterans and tourists, and he's doing this all on his own time and dollar.

"Well the day the government shut down I was watching the news and they wouldn't stop talking about how vulnerable our monuments are, our memorials, and that concerned me," Cox told CBS News. "So I just started emptying trash cans, several hundred trash cans later I needed something else to do.

Cox, an artist from Mount Pleasant, S.C., has not only picked up trash for the last eight days, but has blown leaves to clear miles of trails, mowed lawns and even cleared up debris from a fallen tree. He calls his one man crusade, the "Memorial Militia," vowing to do whatever it takes to make sure the monuments appearance are up to his standard.

"And if we got to clean the toilets, we got to take out the trash we got to mow the grass, we got to pay the power bill whatever it is - I don't know if I could afford that power bill - we'll do whatever it takes that these soldiers come into this area, they come to this nation's capital and they're going to hold their head high proud, they're not going to be bending over with sore backs to pick up litter that someone else had dropped."

"Our veterans are coming here in protest, I didn't want to have to see trash littered or spit cups, diapers, banana peels, half-eaten apples you name it, it was on the ground out here," Cox said.

He recognizes the significance of the Lincoln Memorial, saying "The building behind me serves as a moral compass for not only our nation but the world. And it would be unexcusable to have trash in a picture," reiterating how important it is to keep our monuments and memorials clean with respect to our veterans.

To Cox, this isn't just a temporary fix either, saying he's not leaving until this is over and federal staff can return to clean and protect the monument. The longevity of this shutdown doesn't even seem to faze his good Samaritan attitude, saying "look at all the people around us, this monument's not closed as far as I'm concerned. We've got security, we've got veterans, we've got tourists and now we've got maintenance."

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