Organizers of this year’s Fourth of July parade have rejected an application by Veterans for Peace to participate in the festivities.
Veterans for Peace activists have marched in several prior Fourth of July parades, but for the first time, the group was sponsoring an actual float — anti-war in theme — featuring 28 crosses with names, medals, rosaries, and flowers that would be hauled by a flat-bed truck. The organization is responsible for the Arlington West display of crosses at the base of Stearns Wharf memorializing those slain in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
Veterans for Peace activist Ron Dexter said little explanation had been given for the rejection other than vague reference to an alleged confrontations that took place between the peace activists and event volunteers. When pressed for detail, parade organizer Paul Lamberton said Veterans for Peace activists have distributed handbills and flyers in years past despite a parade policy against doing so. Lamberton said the parade spends nearly a $1,000 a year on clean-up costs, and suggested if the vets group wanted to absorb that expense then perhaps an exception could be made.
Dexter acknowledged there had been a confrontational exchange between a peace activist and a parade volunteer, but said that activist would not be involved this year. He countered that the real issue has to do with politics and has little to do with litter.