Marine Father Denied Access to Son’s Arlington Grave Unless…

Dad and 25-year Marine veteran, Jesse Nieto and “offensive” vehicle
Photo credit:Gathering of Eagles
Marc Nieto, son of Marine veteran, Jesse Nieto – DAD BANNED from Arlington Cemetery
Photo Credit:Real World Libertarian

A Marine veteran of Vietnam, a Marine father of a murdered U.S.S. Cole navyman, and an American citizen with First Amendment rights, has been denied access to his son’s grave in Arlington National Cemetery – unless he enters Arlington on foot or in a vehicle other than his own.

The 25-year veteran, Jesse Nieto, served not one, but two tours in Vietnam. His son, Marc, was one of 17 killed aboard the Cole. Mr. Nieto is a civilian employee at the Marine Corps Base at Camp LeJeune, N.C.

In 2001 he began displaying various decals on his vehicle expressing sentiments such as “Remember the Cole, 12 Oct 2000,” “Islam=Terrorism” and “We Died, They Rejoiced.”

Photo Credit: WorldNetDaily

Thomas More Law Center filed a Federal lawsuit on behalf of Nieto:

Thompson speculated that the Marine command would have to eliminate the Marine’s Hymn because “the phrase ‘to the shores of Tripoli’ celebrates the Marine victory over Islamic forces in the Barbary Coast War and the Battle of Derne.”

The lawsuit alleges that military officials engaged in viewpoint discrimination prohibited by the First Amendment and violated the Fifth Amendment’s equal protection guarantee by allowing some messages to be displayed but prohibiting others.

This is the first time I’ve heard of “viewpoint discrimination,” but it certainly fits.

According to Gathering of Eagles:

The Thomas More Law Center is a national, nonprofit public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. After conducting an investigation into the matter, the Thomas More Law Center filed a federal lawsuit against the Camp Lejeune Commanding Officer and the Base Magistrate. The civil rights lawsuit challenges the military’s ban on Nieto’s anti-terrorist decals on the grounds that it violates his constitutional rights to freedom of speech and the equal protection of the law.

The Law Center’s investigation revealed that numerous vehicles are permitted on the Base that display a variety of anti-Christian, sexual, commercial and personal messages. Furthermore, according to information provided to the Law Center pursuant to a Freedom of Information Request, the directive under which Nieto’s decals have been banned has not been enforced at Camp Lejuene for the last 5 years.

I’m tempted to ask, where are the Marines on this? but our military is saturated with political correctness, harangued by Liberals, protested and loathed by America-haters, and “we the people” let our Warriors fight it by themselves…or give in to it. Look what we allowed the likes of U.S. Representative John Murtha do to our “Haditha Marines.”

According to the Catholic News Agency, Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel for the Thomas More Law Center, speculated:

…the Marine command would have to eliminate the Marine’s Hymn because “the phrase ‘to the shores of Tripoli’ celebrates the Marine victory over Islamic forces in the Barbary Coast War and the Battle of Derne.”

According to Marine Corps Times:

The base order prohibits vehicles from displaying extremist, indecent, sexist or racist messages. Nieto’s ride, which sports a North Carolina license plate reading “USS-COLE,” featured some doozies: “Islam = Terrorism,” “Disgrace my country’s flag and I will sh– on your Quran,” and an image of the popular cartoon character Calvin urinating on a Muslim.

The base removed at least the last two of the above decals, and then ordered Nieto to remove all others. He refused. I live in Chevy and Ford truck country. I’m treated to Calvin unloading everyday, at nearly every traffic light:

The decals remaining on the car? Everyone one of them are true. Can we no longer name our enemy? What’s the problem with the truth? This isn’t a matter of religion or faith. “We died – they Rejoiced” – TRUE. “Islam=Terrorism” – TRUE. “Remember the Cole” – yes. Are there only a few of us who will never forget the bombing and murder of our Naval ship and sailors?

The defendants in this case are Colonel Richard Flatau, Jr. and Lieutenant Colonel James Hessen, both of the USMC. The Case No: 7:2008cv00185, North Carolina Eastern District Court. The Presiding Judge: Senior Judge Malcolm J. Howard.