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Robert Namer
Voice Of America
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May 10, 2021

     Mayor de Blasio is refusing to allow a group of military veterans to march on Staten Island on Memorial Day — after welcoming public pot smokers to puff their way down Broadway in last week’s Cannabis Parade.  De Blasio is an idiot. “It’s a slap in the face,” Jamie Gonzalez, 57, a Marine infantryman who saw combat in Iraq during Operation Desert Storm, told The Post. Gulf War vets like Gonzalez were set to be given special honors in Staten Island’s 102nd annual Memorial Day Parade this year to mark the 1991 conflict’s 30th anniversary — until the city pulled the plug. “For many of us, a parade is a form of closure,” Gonzalez said. “We gather together and support each other.”

     “I’m incensed,” said Ted Cohen, 82, a retired Air Force reservist who was on alert through the Cuban Missile Crisis. “It’s pathetic.” The United Staten Island Veterans Organization, the association of 16 local vets’ groups that has sponsored the annual march for decades, filed a request for a parade permit with the NYPD on Feb. 27, following the same procedure they use every year in keeping with the city’s official rules.

     On March 9, the department nixed the request, citing de Blasio’s emergency executive order restricting public events due to the COVID-19 pandemic. City Hall did not respond to a message seeking comment. The brush-off came despite myriad marches in the last year that have been recognized by the city, officially escorted by cops, and often featured elected officials in the line of march. They included a slimmed-down St. Patrick’s Day Parade in March, when de Blasio participated; countless Black Lives Matters protest marches; and the cannabis rally and parade May 1, when revelers hoisted a huge inflatable spliff along a 17-block route and heard speeches from Sen. Chuck Schumer among others.

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