Mario Alejandro, 33, served four years in the US Marine Corps. He was there at the start of the war in Iraq and ended up with hearing loss and PTSD. He is now classified as disabled because of his hearing loss and PTSD.
On Father’s Day, his family presented him several t-shirts that are part of a fundraiser for the non-profit group Marine Reconnaissance Foundation that helps support recon Marines and their families. One t-shirt is black with a stars and stripe colored assault rifle above the words ‘KEEP CALM and RETURN FIRE.’ All of the shirts were part of a Fourth of July promotion for the non-profit group.
Alejandro loved his shirts and commented about the gifts:
“I thought it was great, I loved it. The shirts fit my personality perfectly. They’re military and they’re patriotic. That’s my thing. I wore them to all over the place, to my kids’ baseball games – everywhere. And I got nothing but compliments about how great they were. No one ever said they were offensive, because it’s obvious that they’re in support of the military and the United States.”
That all changed a week ago when Alejandro proudly wore his t-shirt as he took his family to Six Flags Great Adventure Park in New Jersey for a child’s birthday party. NJ.com reports on what happened when Alejandro and his family arrived at the theme park:
“‘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,’ Alejandro said on Tuesday. ‘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.’”
“Alejandro said that when he refused to take the shirt off or buy a new shirt to cover it, the security guard told him to wait there while he checked with their supervisor.”
“‘I saw him talk to two women in white shirts, who looked at me and then shook their heads. And then the man grabbed my arm and asked me to leave,’ he said. ‘I told them that’s it’s not offensive, that it’s a military shirt and that it means something. But they said: ‘I don’t care, get out of the park.’”
“Alejandro said he complied with the request, but only after announcing to hundreds of other people who were entering the park that he was a veteran and what was happening to him.”
“‘My wife and my son were crying, because they didn’t understand why this was happening,’ he said. ‘I just told my son to remember this day. To remember how they treat veterans.’”
A spokeswoman for Six Flags explained that they do have a dress code that bans clothing with vulgar, offensive or violent images or language. She also stated that the amusement company is proud of their relationship with military and that Alejandro’s case is under review.
Alejandro responded to the statement issued by the spokeswoman saying:
“At the very least should revise their policy. I fought for this country. I laid in a hole for 36 hours with no sleep, and had friends die for this country and so the people here could have the freedom to things like visit amusement parks. So when they told me that I couldn’t come in there with my family because of my shirt – a patriotic shirt – it hurt a lot. No other veteran should ever have to experience that.”
How many times have we seen things like this happen where someone is so afraid of offending a liberal crybaby that they discriminate against military personnel (active and veterans) and patriotic Americans? It’s happening in airports with TSA agents mistreating a veteran with no legs to schools across the country that suspend and reprimand students for patriotic shirts if they have a resemblance of a gun on them.
I wonder what schools or amusement parks would do if someone had a shirt with state flag of Delaware that depicts a colonist with a rifle or the flag of Massachusetts that depicts an Indian with a bow and arrow or Virginia that show an ancient warrior with a sword and spear standing over a dead king? These three state flags depict just as much violence, Virginia’s even more so, than the gun in patriot colors on Alejandro’s shirt.
If I were him, I would be tempted to file a lawsuit against Six Flags for wrongfully discriminating against a veteran and his family and for the trauma caused to his wife and son who were in tears over the incident.