(CBS News) WASHINGTON -- As the number of World War II veterans rapidly shrinks, an organization called the Honor Flight Network is on a mission: to take those vets to the memorial in Washington that honors their service. But a group arriving at the memorial Tuesday ran right smack into the government shutdown.
Benjamin Joyner came to Washington Tuesday to mark his place in history.
"One day, I saw two torpedoes coming at my feet, and as the good Lord had it, they missed me," he says.
The 89-year-old Navy veteran from Lucedale, Miss., served in the Pacific and later pledged to see the World War II memorial before he died.
Joyner says he was going to see it one way or another. On Tuesday morning, he made it.
But the barricades that came with the government shutdown got there first.
"I just wonder what we fought for," he says. "Back then, I had a pretty good idea, but now I just wonder. The way that things are going, they're not working together, they're working against this country, they're trying to destroy it."
Joyner arrived with a group of 90 other veterans on an honor flight. Many of them arrived in wheelchairs and with medical supplies in tow..
A group of congressmen eventually moved the barricades. The memorial is dedicated to the 16 million Americans who served in the armed forces and the more than 400,000 who died.
Asked what was going through his mind when he saw the memorial Tuesday, Joyner says, "I was proud to see it."
Of the government shutdown, Joyner says, "Well, that's just their way of doing things, I guess. And I think it's silly, but I think with all these educated people that are up there doing these jobs, they should have sense enough to work together."
A World War II veteran in the nation's capital on the day parts of the country he fought for stopped working.