Duluth Memorial Day Parade organizers stand by decision to deny groups right to march

By KBJR News 1

May 22, 2014 Updated May 22, 2014 at 6:20 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - Organizers of Duluth's annual Memorial Day Parade say their decision to deny one group's right to participate next week is in keeping with the holiday's true mission.

Spokespeople for Veterans for Peace, which has had a spot in the parade in the past, say their group focuses on the costs and causes of war in an effort to end current and future wars.

According to group President Philip Anderson, they've been denied entrance this year due to their political message.

According to American Legion Post 71 Commander and Gulf War Veteran, John Marshall, any message that takes away from the sole purpose of honoring and remembering the lives of soldiers taken during times of war has no place in Memorial Day activities.

Marshall says he understands that war has the power to stir up anger, and conflict.

"Nobody prays for peace more than a soldier," said Marshall, "because we're the ones that bear the wounds and scars of war, and nobody wants war."

Parade organizers say last year Veterans for Peace effectively crashed the parade by hopping into a slot without approval.

The group will be holding its own Memorial Day presentation on Lake Place Plaza in Duluth after the parade.

Billy Wagness