The Biden administration’s tepid response to the annual Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally to honor POW/MIAs has drawn the attention of at least one congressman.
U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., on Tuesday fired off a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, requesting that the Pentagon, as it has historically done, open its facilities to the American Veterans, or AmVets, and the thousands of riders who make up Rolling Thunder.
“Among AMVETS’ chief advocacy priorities are bringing awareness to the 82,000 servicemen and women still considered missing-in-action by the Department of Defense and the 22 veterans that die by suicide every day. As we are all aware, in the past decade, suicide has tragically taken the lives of more veterans than the amount of U.S. troops kill-in-action in the Vietnam War,” wrote Mast, a 12-year Army veteran who lost both of his legs top an IED in Afghanistan.
“Bringing attention to these matters is the chief aim of the Rolling to Remember Memorial Day event. As a veteran and someone who proudly flies the POW/MIA flag outside my office, these issues are of chief concern to me as well.”
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The congressman then points out that the Pentagon is the “ideal staging ground” for AmVets. The group, which has initiated its rally at the Pentagon for 32 years, has said it needs the parking lot because it is the largest public parking facility in the Washington area.
Mast then recounts how the Pentagon approved the permit for the event and then retracted it, saying it was concerned about COVID-19. A Pentagon spokesperson has said the permit is still under review.
“The event is now only a month away,” Mast wrote, “and further delays could jeopardize this important Memorial Day event.”
Mast then pointed out that the Pentagon’s “expansive” parking lot would easily allow the bikers to maintain social distancing. Moreover, nine other local agencies have green-lighted the rally, leaving the Pentagon as the holdout.
Mast then request that Austin approve the permit.
Mast followed up with a tweet on Wednesday night, after Fox News picked up the story of his letter.
“In Joe Biden’s America,” he tweeted, “it’s harder for our veterans to get a permit than it is for illegal aliens to enter our country. That tells you everything you need to know.”
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