The Department of Defense has refused to grant a permit to a veterans group seeking to hold their annual Memorial Day parade in Washington D.C. The AMVETS Rolling to Remember motorcycle parade has been prohibited by the Pentagon, whose parking lot is typically used as the staging area for the yearly rally. The Department of Defense claims that the cancellation is due to concerns over the Coronavirus, though that has stopped no BLM protests in D.C.
Pentagon denies permit for veterans
The Rolling to Remember event has been held annually for more than 30 years in Washington D.C., commemorating missing in action service members.
The event also serves to raise awareness for the high rate of suicide among veterans, a major concern that the ride commemorates every Memorial Day.
In 2019 the original organizers of the event disbanded after logistical disputes with the Pentagon. American Veterans, known as AMVETS then took over the role of running the event.
Despite the fact that AMVETS applied for a permit from the Pentagon nearly a year ago, the Pentagon claims that there has not been enough time to assess the situation and make a safe decision.
The Pentagon offered to consider letting the event happen on Labor Day, an offer rejected by the veterans as holding the rally on Memorial Day itself is of course a very deliberate choice.
The decision to deny the permit has disrupted all of the plans for the parade, which has limited alternatives available to serve as staging areas.
AMVETS plan to hold rally anyway
The group is determined to make the event happen without permission from the Pentagon, though they admit that it will be a major challenge.
Organizers pointed out that securing a staging area for the rally would be in the best interest of federal and local authorities, as large numbers of veterans will show up to the ride regardless of the official status.
As an open air event, the parade would appear to be far less concerning for potential virus spreading than were the BLM protests which took place in D.C. last year.
These protests, which invariably turned violent, faced no real obstacles from the government for Covid concerns or for any other hazards.
There is clearly a favored demographic when it comes to receiving permits for rallies in Washington D.C. and veterans are apparently not included in these preferences.
Still, AMVET organizers are determined to overcome the obstacles created by the Pentagon and make the commemorative event a success this year in spite of the short amount of time they have left to secure a new staging area.