Mario Alejandro, a veteran of the United States Marine Corps who was part of the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003, was not allowed to enter Six Flags Great Adventure amusement park in New Jersey because of a Marine shirt he was wearing. While taking his wife and three children to the venue for a birthday party, he donned one of the shirts his children gave him for Father’s Day. Alejandro is a 33-year-old veteran from Woodbridge, according to a New Jersey News 12-television report on Thursday.
The shirt that caused the unfortunate incident for Alejandro and his family says “Keep Calm and Return Fire” on the front. Accompanying the words in red, white and blue, there is an image of a star-spangled M-16 rifle. The image of the rifle is also red, white and blue on a black background.
Security personnel stopped Alejandro at the gate last weekend and told him, “I can’t let you into the park with that shirt on. It’s offensive.” The security guard insisted that he take the shirt off or put another shirt over it to cover it up – and if necessary, buy another shirt inside the amusement park to accommodate the Six Flag Great Adventure park’s security personnel’s request. At first, Alejandro thought it was some sort of joke. After realizing that the security guard was serious, Alejandro and his family members were stunned at the security guard’s reaction to the shirt and the request to do away with it.
After talking to someone ‘higher up’ in command at the park, Alejandro got the same response. The shirt had to be removed or he couldn’t enter the amusement park. Even though Alejandro told them that he was an Iraq vet and that the shirt supports Marines, the decision remained the same. He chose to leave with his family – with his wife and one of his children in tears. The shirt was purchased as a gift for Alejandro from the Marine Reconnaissance Foundation. The organization’s proceeds support Recon Marines and their families.
A Six Flags’ spokesperson claims the incident is being reviewed. The spokesperson said that the amusement park has a dress code against vulgar, offensive or violent images or wording on clothing. According to an article published in NJ, MRF is extremely displeased with the incident and the organization which had discontinued this particular shirt is making it available again.