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Flight 93 memorial reopens after shutdown comes to an end
SOMERSET COUNTY, Pa. -- The U.S. government has re-opened and hundreds of thousands of federal employees are back to work after a 16 day shutdown.
A deal was reached just before the midnight deadline Wednesday to raise the U.S. borrowing limit.
President Obama signed the bill passed by Congress. It's a short-term solution that allows the government to be funded until mid-January
About 800,000 federal employees were furloughed since the beginning of this month when the government started a fiscal year without a budget.
National memorials and parks were also closed as a result of the government shutdown but on Thursday the barricades were removed from those sites, including the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County.
National Park Service workers told 6 News they're
"I think it's very important to come down and just look out over the crash site to realize what the price of freedom is," said Dick Reed, who was visiting from Franklin, Pa. "It's good for your children to grow up and see that freedom carries a very heavy cost."
For the past two weeks "closed" signs have been posted at the entrance of national parks across the country, turning thousands of visitors away.
"It's really disappointing when you have people that have traveled from out of the state to come and they're not able to come and pay their respects, to learn about the stories and about their history and their heritage," said Jeff Reinbold, superintendent of the Flight 93 National Memorial.
But with Congress coming to a short-term agreement to end the government shutdown late Wednesday night. The signs were removed and the parks reopened Thursday morning. But with half of October already gone, the park service said it's missed out on one of it's biggest seasons.
"At Flight 93 alone we see about 1,200 buses," said Reinbold. "A lot of them come in the fall and a lot of them are out of state so unfortunately they didn't' make the trip or they just passed through the region without staying at local hotels or stopping to eat or anything like that, so there's a huge economic impact as well."
Hundreds of eager visitors made the trip to the memorial as soon as it opened Thursday morning and they didn't hold back their thoughts on the shutdown.
"We paid for it. These are our memorials, we foot the bill and we should be able to come and see them when we want to see them," said Frank Morea, visiting from Pittsburgh, Pa. "I'm glad they finished with the foolishness down in Washington, D.C., so that we could come and see this place."