Gold Cup parade organizers, Charlottetown legion apologize to Korean War vets who felt uncared for
The Gold Cup parade committee is apologizing to veterans who felt left out of Friday's parade, but says participants' transportation was taken care of.
The committee issued a statement just after noon Monday in response to a story in The Guardian with a Korean War veteran who felt he couldn't take part in the parade.
"We sincerely apologize if any veteran felt they were not cared for properly," the Gold Cup parade committee said in its statement. But it insists arrangements were made for the comfort of the veterans.
Charlottetown's annual Gold Cup parade celebrates Old Home Week and the running of the Gold Cup and Saucer harness-racing event. This year's theme was "Parade of Heroes" and Prince Edward Island's Korean War veterans were named parade marshals. They led Friday's parade in a wagon pulled by horses.
The veteran quoted in Monday's Guardian said he was told to arrive at the grand marshalling area by 8 a.m. for the parade’s 10 a.m. start. He understood once the parade finished at noon, he would have to find his own way from the route’s end on Water Street back to the marshalling area or wherever he had left his car. For these reasons, he opted not to take part in the parade.
The parade committee's statement notes, ". . . we had chairs set up in the shade so (the veterans) would be comfortable while waiting for their horse and wagon to arrive. For all other veterans, we had volunteers assigned to drive them up North River Road to the Charlottetown Legion entry so they would not have to walk. Following the parade, buses were provided at the end of the parade route to transport parade participants back to the Simmons parking lot."
The Charlottetown Legion has also issued a statement apologizing to veterans who felt excluded.
"If there was any lack of accommodation for veterans wishing to participate in the parade, it was our failure in not fully anticipating their needs with respect to transportation and mobility issues," the statement reads. "We apologize to those veterans who were not able to take their place of honour in this year’s parade."