If there's one thing we Americans love, it's our service men and women who make the sacrifice to serve our country. So when we hear about a member of our troops being mistreated for showing their military pride, we get just a wee bit defensive. Like this story of an Iraqi war veteran who was denied entrance to a theme park for his "offensive" shirt supporting his fellow Marines.
Mario Alejandro was recently turned away from New Jersey's Six Flags Great Adventure for wearing a shirt decorated witha star-spangeled M-16, and the catchphrase, "Keep Calm and Return Fire." That was apparently enough to keep him from enjoying his day at the amusement park with his family.
"I was walking in through the gate with my wife and kids, who were in front of me, when a security guard grabbed me and said: 'I can't let you into the park with that shirt on. That shirt's offensive,'" he said of the incident last Saturday.
He also said he thought it was a joke at first, and reiterated that he was a war vet, and meant no harm by supporting his fellow soldiers
"I said that it's not offensive, it's a military shirt. I told him that I am an Iraq veteran … I served in the war. But he said: 'I don't care, you have to take that off … or you need to buy another shirt to put over it,'" he recalled.
His kids had gotten him the shirt for Father's Day, through the Marine Reconnaissance Foundation, which helps support Recon Marines and their families.
Alejandro, who served four years in the Marine infantry and was part of the initial 2003 invasion into Iraq, refused to cave and demanded to see a supervisor. He was shocked to discover that he shared the same view, and demanded that he not wear the shirt inside the park, as his wife and son started to cry.
He agreed, but only after identifying the injustice of the situation to the hundreds of people around him.
A park spokesman has said the situation is "under review," and the Marine Reconnaissance Foundation has announced they are bringing back the limited edition shirt for anyone who wants to purchase it and show their support to the Marines.
"One of our supporters was denied entry to Six Flags Great Adventures for wearing a shirt that supports the MRF," they announced via Facebook this week. "We said this shirt would be limited, but we're re-releasing it. Stand by for the link."
Do you think this pro-military shirt is offensive enough to get a Marine kicked out of Six Flags?
Image via Teespring.com