Organizers say Pentagon is jeopardizing Memorial Day motorcycle ride

by Nikki Wentling from Organizers of the traditional Memorial Day motorcycle ride in the nation’s capital accused the Pentagon on Tuesday of jeopardizing the event. AMVETS, the national veterans group organizing the ride, said the Defense Department has ignored its application to use the Pentagon parking lot as a staging area. For 32 consecutive years, thousands of motorcyclists gathered in the parking lot before and after the ride around the National Mall. There are fewer than 40 days until the event, and the Pentagon hasn’t communicated its decision, said Joe Chenelly, national executive director of AMVETS. The Pentagon “won’t even talk to us,” Chenelly said. “We’ve been trying to really be good partners in all of this and not blast the Pentagon, but we’ve gotten to point recently where we have to put the pressure on them.” Chenelly said he submitted an application in July to use the Pentagon parking lot on May 30 this year. He was expecting to hear back by January, but no response came. The Pentagon’s special events office sent Chenelly an approved permit earlier this month but then rescinded the approval eight days later and said they hadn’t made a final decision. At that time, Chenelly told the Pentagon he needed an answer by April 16. “It’s April 20 today, and we still haven’t heard anything back,” Chenelly said Tuesday. Pentagon spokeswoman Sue Gough told Stars and Stripes on Wednesday that “there’s been no decision yet.” She cited the ongoing coronavirus pandemic as the cause of the delay and said the department is monitoring community spread of the virus. Masks and social distancing are required on Pentagon grounds, she said. “The permit request is still being evaluated in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” Gough said. AMVETS has gained approvals for the event from […]

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