A group called the Fallen Hero Banner project, which honors Washington service members who have died in the line of duty, applied to march in the 2014 Seafair Torchlight Parade.
But the organization recently got an email, denying them. The group said Seafair told them in part, "The banner images are a somber and sobering reminder to all of us here at home of what has been sacrificed. And to that point, the parade selection committee felt that the Fallen Hero Banner Project was not the right fit for the Torchlight Parade. Seafair and the Torchlight Parade celebrate summer, and our mission is to entertain spectators with high energy, vibrant colors and upbeat music."
"Our banners...are a good gentle reminder and we don't want our fallen to ever be forgotten. We thought our application would be accepted," said Monica McNeal who lost her son Eric, 19, back in 2010.
"The banners are somber... that is a fact and as much as they want the parade to be cheerful and fun, this is also part of America," McNeal added.
In response, Seafair gave this statement Saturday to KING5 news, "We give all applicants careful consideration. It is our goal to have a well rounded mix of participants. Last year we included over 15 military entries in the parade out of approx. 110 total entries. The military involvement will be higher this year due to our partnership with Marine Week."
UPDATE: Evening of April 20
Seafair posted on their Facebook page that they would allow the Fallen Heroes Banner to accompany an existing entry in the 2014 Seafair Torchlight Parade. The post also added a quote from the founder of Fallen Heroes Banner, Kim Cole.
"We very much appreciate the effort and decision by Seafair to accommodate The Fallen Heroes Banner Project in the Seafair Torchlight Parade. Our Washington State Gold Star Families will be proud to have the opportunity to honor our fallen heroes in this great event," said Cole.