Six Flags Great Adventure has apologized to a Marine vet after denying him entry into the park for his “Keep calm and return fire” t-shirt. The shirt, which also had a silhouette of a AK-47-inspired rifle on it, was from the Marine Recon Foundation.
Mario Alejandro told NJ.com last week he wears his “Keep calm and return fire” — one of the more appropriate uses of the “Keep calm” meme — shirt everywhere, including his kids’ baseball games. (“Keep calm and keep your eye on the ball” is more like it!)
When Alejandro attempted to go to Six Flags Great Adventure, a park worker told him he’d have to change his shirt. “I said that it’s not offensive, it’s a military shirt,” he told NJ.com. “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.’”
Six Flags originally stood by its decision, releasing a statement that read “our dress code does not permit clothing with vulgar, offensive or violent language or images.” This week, the park thought better of it — people tend to get angry when they feel a veteran has been slighted! — and apologized.
“Six Flags takes great pride in the various ways we honor, celebrate and support our military heroes. We strive to maintain a family-friendly environment and similar to many other public venues we have a dress code. Unfortunately, at the time our employee did not know Mr. Alejandro’s shirt was related to a military charity and we apologize to any military personnel who may have been offended by our mistake.”
The park offered Alejandro and his family a VIP tour of the park, but he says he’s not sure he’ll take them up on the offer.