Gold Cup Parade committee chairman Ray Murphy says he will follow up on complaints
For some of P.E.I.’s Korean War veterans last Friday’s Gold Cup parade was anything but a cause to celebrate.
The parade saw floats make their way through Charlottetown streets with Korean War veterans serving as grand marshals for the “Parade of Heroes” themed event.
However, some veterans opted out of participating in the summer tradition after feeling they would not get enough assistance in leaving the busy downtown area after the parade.
One Korean veteran, who did not want to be named by The Guardian, said he wanted to go but didn’t feel up to it after realizing what participating would entail.
Suffering from bad knees, the veteran said he was told to arrive at the grand marshall area by 8 a.m. for the parade’s 10 a.m. start.
The veteran said he was told that, once the parade finished at noon, he would then have to find his own way from the route’s end on Water Street back to the marshaling area or wherever he had left his car.
“With bad legs and everything, I just didn’t feel capable if I would have to walk anywhere,” said the veteran. “”We were told there was only one (shuttle) vehicle allowed to go up and all this type of thing. I don’t know, I just... for that reason I didn’t go,”
“I couldn’t get really anything official (explanation) from anybody.”
While the veteran watched bits of the parade by himself, he said he has talked to other veterans who were not happy with the situation.
“There are more than me that felt the same way,” he said.
Mabel Gallant, communications and public relations chairwoman with the Charlottetown Legion, said she had heard from one veteran in the parade who was disappointed after he had to walk from Water Street back up to legion once it finished.
“They thought that was terrible,” she said. “I would be concerned about that too. These people are in their 80s and they were left off on Water Street and had no place to go.”
“Somebody should have been there to drive them back.”
Ray Murphy, chairman of the Gold Cup Parade committee, said each year the committee tries to accommodate those involved with the parade.
When contacted by The Guardian Sunday, he said it was the first time the issue had been brought to his attention.
“I’ll certainly be looking into it and will be doing a follow up at the first of this week,” said Murphy.
Murphy said the committee’s goal is also to make sure anyone involved in the parade has a positive experience.
“We were honoured to have these veterans as part of the parade, it was a real tribute to have them there so I want to make sure them and all other participants have a pleasant experience,” he said. “We will do a follow up.”
Gallant said she wouldn’t necessarily blame parade officials for the incident that had disappointed some veterans.
She said the legion should have been more involved making sure veterans would be able to participate.
“The legion should have taken the extra step,” she said. “We failed a little bit there.”