Guest Column by John C. Bieber: Government Shutdown means time off for American icons

With the start of the forced federal government shutdown, several longtime national symbols are taking advantage of the time off to go on vacations.

Smokey Bear who has worked for the National Park Service for 69 years, said he is looking forward to traveling. Ive been in the woods so long and Ive never really been many other places. I went to Mardi Gras in New Orleans in 1979 and that was just crazy. I still cant remember the first two nights I was there. But now Im going to New York City and I want to see a few Broadway shows. Is Lion King still playing there?

The four Presidents on Mt. Rushmore are looking forward to having time away from each other. You might think its pretty quiet here on this mountain at night in South Dakota. But you wouldnt believe how General Washington and Ol Abe Lincoln can snore. Some nights it sounds like thunder, complained President Roosevelt. President Jefferson said, I am eager to go see the Pacific Ocean that I sent Captains Lewis and Clark to find passage to. I also want to attempt the sport called surfing. I will need a very large surf board but I am told the waves on Malibu Beach are gnarly, you know? Way sick and awesome dude.

The American Bison made famous for his pose on the Buffalo Nickel and for being the iconic symbol of the American Great Plains also has travel plans. I need a beach. Mrs. Bison and I never had a honeymoon when we were married in 1913. Holy cow! Thats 100 years! She has been talking about going to the Cayman Islands and has a pile of brochures. Were going to the travel agent today.


The Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor has already pulled up her robe, stepped off her platform and walked to JFK International Airport where reporters caught up to her. Yes I need to get away also. Who knows how long the government shutdown will last so Im getting out of here today before they call me back to work. And before you ask, yes my arm does get tired, Lady Liberty said. I already bought my ticket to France. Ive always wanted to go back to the place of my birth uh.. I mean the place of my construction. I want to visit Paris just to make sure the Eifel Tower really is taller than me. I also want to try French wines. I love wine and it takes a lot to fill me up. Thats a joke, get it?

Also laid off from work in the shutdown was Uncle Sam. He was seen in a Washington, D.C., barber shop having his goatee trimmed and dyed from white to gray. Uncle Sams publicist was reached by phone and said Yes, Uncle Sam did have a haircut. No big deal, we all do it. Sure he is image conscious and in this very competitive marketing age where image is everything, Sam is aware of protecting his brand and staying up with styles. You will be seeing him soon in some new fall fashion red white and blue menswear. He has also been working on a new clothing line with designer Tommy Hilfiger. Should be available at Sears, JC Penny and Walmart stores in a big July 4th marketing blitz.

This op-ed satirically submitted by John C. Bieber. John is an author and columnist based in Berks County. He can be contacted at