Park Ranger Dylan Moe stands guard as the sun sets at the entrance to Joshua Tree National Park to prevent any tourists from entering, in Joshua Tree, California, on October 2, 2013.
ROBYN BECK/afp/getty

President Obama to federal workers: You are important

President Obama made a point to thank federal employees who had been kept out of work during the 16-day shutdown in a letter on Thursday, reminding workers deemed “non essential” that “the public service you perform… is important.” 

Around 800,000 government employees were placed on furlough on Oct. 1 as a result of the budget standoff in Congress. After days of uncertainty, Congress agreed that the workers would be paid during the shutdown. Fewer employees whose services are considered “essential” to the basic functioning of the government continued to work.

“I know it has been a frustrating and stressful few weeks for you and your families,” Obama acknowledged in the letter. “It should never have happened. You should never have been treated this way.” 

“I want to remind you again, that the public service you perform–the role you play in the life of our country–it is important, It matters,” Obama wrote. 

Read the full letter from President Obama here.