The U.S. Department of Defense has denied a parking permit to the American Veterans or AmVets to stage a rallying point at the Pentagon ending a 32-year-old tradition on Memorial Day weekend for Rolling To Remember.
Now AmVets will try and secure RFK Stadium as an alternative staging area.
AmVets Executive Director Joe Chenelly tells the 7 News I-Team he received a call from the Pentagon Friday afternoon saying “A gentleman at the Pentagon told me that after careful consideration, our permit application was denied. He said considerations involved the continued spread of COVID-19 in the region and the nature of our event being that we are proposing a large gathering for an extended period of time.”
The Pentagon released a statement Friday night that read:
Unfortunately, the department has disapproved AMVETS permit request. The department took into careful consideration all aspects of AMVETS request, to include the current Health Protection Condition status on the Pentagon Reservation; substantial community transmission of COVID-19 in Arlington County, Virginia; number of Americans fully vaccinated across the nation; nature of this event with its decreased ability to maintain physical distance; and large crowds in one location for an extended period of time. This event draws national attention and participation; therefore the risk of exposure from participants from other communities extends well beyond the National Capital Region.
If COVID-19 conditions permit, the department would gladly consider supporting a future event request from AMVETS, potentially as soon as this Labor Day weekend.
The department looks forward to supporting future events with AMVETS, and as always, we appreciate AMVETS’ support of our veterans, their families, and their communities, including promoting better awareness of veterans’ issues, as well as AMVETS continued support for our missing-in-action service members.
For almost a year the organizers of Rolling To Remember have been waiting for the Pentagon to sign off on a parking permit for a Memorial Day weekend event that will bring in thousands of veterans and their motorcycles to the District.
Two weeks ago, the 7News I-Team reported the U.S. Defense Department was holding up what seems to be a simple decision to allow or deny thousands of military veterans to use its parking lot for a staging area for Rolling To Remember.
It’s the same parking lot the huge event has been using for the past 32 years.