Last week area veterans and gold star families were dismayed when all Memorial Day activities were canceled by the City of Duluth. We were hurt by the fact that the Duluth Police Department was allowed to have a parade during the height of COVID-19 lockdown, but after the governor turned back the dial, Memorial Day activities weren’t allowed to happen. No permits would be issued and no gatherings could take place. Local veterans groups still held ceremonies at local cemeteries, but Memorial Day 2020 just wasn’t the same because of the city. We were told it just wasn’t safe with COVID-19 still a threat.
On Memorial Day tragedy struck our state with the murder of George Floyd. The country watched in horror as video of Floyd’s last moments were spread across the internet. Floyd’s death was a disgusting act by an evil individual and the officers who just watched share the guilt of what happened to Floyd. This is not the America we veterans fought to protect. It’s not America our brothers & sisters died to defend. The country collectively cried out in anger and veterans cried out with them. Reform needs to happen and men need to stop needlessly dying at the hands of our nation’s police. Police need to stop using tactics that even soldiers overseas are banned from using. The fact that we hold our men and women more accountable in a war zone than we do our police officers is sickening. In the aftermath of Floyd’s death, the people wanted to make their voices heard. This is the America that veterans have fought for and this is the America that our brothers and sisters died for. People marched and veterans marched with them.
Like the Police Memorial Day, the March in response to Floyd’s death was the right and just thing to do. But during the same week that the City of Duluth canceled Memorial Day Events, surely the city felt the need to cancel any marches or protests in the name of public safety from COVID-19. Not only did the city not cancel any events, but Mayor Larson actively encouraged the demonstrations. Why is it that the city feels that they can selectively allow different events? What does an organization or group need to do to get on the city’s “good side” and be allowed to have their events? Is it only Mayor Larson’s preferred events that are allowed? Or is it that Mayor Larson hates veterans and those that gave their all for this country? This isn’t leadership, and this isn’t what the city needs. Perhaps it’s time for these imposters to step aside and let real leaders run the city. Please remember how Mayor Larson conducted herself next time you’re at the polls.
In light of recent attacks on the police department, the Veteran Community stands shoulder-to-shoulder with all police officers. We stand together.
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