An Iraq War veteran says Six Flags Great Adventure owes him an apology after he was denied entry because the shirt he was wearing was considered “offensive.”
New Jersey veteran Mario Alejandro received the shirt as a Father’s Day gift that his family purchased from the Reconnaissance Foundation, a nonprofit organization which supports Marines and their families, according to NJ.com.
“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,” he told NJ.com. “I wore them to all over the place. No one ever said they were offensive, because it’s obvious that they’re in support of the military and the United States.”
The shirt Alejandro wore on Saturday was black with a red, white and blue machine gun and the words “Keep Calm and Return Fire” on the front. The logo for The Reconnaissance Foundation was on the back.
“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 told NJ.com 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 left the park, but not before announcing to hundreds of people entering the park that he was a veteran and what had happened 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.”
Six Flags Great Adventure spokeswoman Kristin B. Siebeneicher, wrote in an email to NJ.com the incident was “under review,” saying:
“Our goal is to maintain a fun, safe and family-friendly environment. Our dress code does not permit clothing with vulgar, offensive or violent language or images,” she wrote. “If a guest is wearing such attire, we ask them to remove and replace it with another item of clothing; and if they do not have one, they are able to purchase a replacement item at a gift shop.”
Six Flags is proud of its relationship with the U.S. military, Siebeneicher said, adding that they work throughout the season to offer special events honoring service men and women and their families.
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