A Nashville, TN father went to Gower Elementary School, where two of his children currently attend school, to show the kids that all is well and good following the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Pritchard wore his full military uniform as he stood watch outside the doorway of the school and stated he would stay there each day at least until the kids broke for their holiday vacations. He hoped other veterans would take his lead and do the same. No less than one individual did, a father in California who was recognized to have halfway created his military history.
Any former Marine wanting to join his cause may not want to follow his exact lead. The Marine Corps called and advised Pritchard that he needed to “remove the uniform”. There are two reasons for this. The principal, and greatest, is that it is in opposition to Marine Corps guidelines to wear camouflage in public with the exception of in certain events. The second is resulting from the fact that Pritchard honorably discharged from the Marine Corp last year. When a Marine is Honorably Discharged, they can only wear their uniform in certain ceremonial event.
The Marine Corps order P1020 says:
“Former Members of the Armed Forces. Unless qualified under another provision of this Order or under the provisions of 10 U.S.C. 772, former members who served honorably during a declared or undeclared war and whose most recent service was terminated under honorable conditions may wear the uniform in the highest grade held during such war service only upon the following occasions and in the course of travel incident thereto: (1) Military funerals, memorial services, weddings, and inaugurals. (2) Parades on national or state holidays; or other parades or ceremonies of a patriotic character in which any active or reserve United States military unit are taking part. ’Wearing of the uniform or any part thereof at any other time or for any purpose is prohibited.”
When Pritchard first began doing this, he said, “What this uniform represents, the hope it brings, is larger than any weapon that I would ever need.”
Pritchard said that he had no clue the Marines Corps would get mad at him for wearing his uniform when he took it out of the closet.
When Pritchard was advised that he could no longer wear the uniform while standing guard at his children’s school, he said, “Strip me of my honorable discharge. Take it away. The peace that these parents and teachers have, that’s enough honor for me.”
So what is your take on this whole thing? Do you have a problem with Pritchard wearing his uniform? Do you have a problem with him taking post in front of a school? I’m a little torn with it all. On one hand I don’t have a problem with what he is doing. On the other hand, I don’t want a bunch of nut jobs doing it. I have to admit, on the Monday following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, I wanted to go stand guard by my grand daughters school. I even brought it up to my wife.
Give your thoughts on this. I really look forward to hearing from you.
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